Sunday, July 17, 2016

Drama and Politics: Rhetoric and Truth; An Essay by Payman Akhlaghi (2016)

Drama & Politics: Rhetoric & Truth
An Essay By Payman Akhlaghi (Draft 2)

(*) First Published on Sunday, July 17, 2016, at, under Drama and Politics: Rhetoric and Truth.

Showmanship has a place: the stage, the context of the arts. In its proper place, it can help reveal the truth. Misplaced, it could fool the minds and distort judgment.

Showmanship has power: never underestimate it. The ancient Greeks knew it, when they spoke of Rhetoric. The Nazis knew it, when they put to use their brand of modern Political Propaganda. Every architect knows it when they build a high edifice. Every child shows it who likes a topic taught by an interesting teacher. We are feeble beings. The most rational person pays more attention when a subject is presented more attractively. A piece of stone feels more valuable when it's secured on a dazzling display. Modern psychologists warn us on the impact of non-rational factors on feelings, mood, memory, thought, perception, and judgment.

You can't fault those who wish to harness such power of persuasion beyond the arts, in business, in relations, in politics. You can't blame those who like to offer their skills of persuasion to such purposes, in words, sounds, or images. You can equip yourself with a knowledge of such influences, to enhance your pleasures as much as to discern and protect yourself against sweetened lies. You can also hope for more facts and truths to be offered with a more pleasant face. At any rate, beware: attraction signals potentially subtle influences, and your soundest argument may turn out to be a mere after-the-fact justification for some induced thought.

As an artist and art-lover, I revel in the power of music, drama, words, colors, and cinema. Yet, as a thinking man, I also wish my thoughts and arguments to have roots in the reality, in the context  of a sound intellect, independent of the persuasions of the mood. Thus, I've found it imperative to try and be aware of the suggestive powers of the environment and the arts as much as I may enjoy and benefit from those effects.

To understand the enormity of the topic, I consider two films to be seen side by side. First, I think of the German director Leni Riefenstahl's dramatized documentary, "The Triumph of the Will" (Triumph des Willens, 1935), and I contemplate what followed in its aftermath. Made on a commission, the film comes across as a elf-conscious attempt at exploiting the modern forms of rhetoric to advance a political agenda. I also urge the reader to watch Charles Chaplin's responsible satire, "The Great Dictator" (1940), which I strongly suspect was developed primarily as a parody of the said German film. If you know cinema, the final moving speech feels somewhat redundant, if not superfluous, so powerful has been the preceding humor in shattering the totalitarian propaganda and promoting a humane vision of humanity.

(*) Notes:

I first learned of Riefenstahl's film as a teenager from the Iranian TV program on cinema, "Aan Roo-ye Sekkeh" (The Other Side of the Coin), to my recollection, written and presented by Ebrahim Makki. About that time, I also saw excerpts of Chaplin's Great Dictator on the Iranian TV, if not necessarily on the same program. Finding to see both films in recent months was a sure study merely postponed. I write this especially to highlight the significance of a sophisticated art culture to modern society. The recent developments in Iran were not an accident.

© 2016, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

(*) Payman Akhlaghi is a composer, pianist and piano teacher based in Los Angeles. His repertoire covers Classical music, as well as Persian (Iranian) Music, Pop Music, and Film Music. For information on the lessons in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Encino, Brentwood, etc. please call: 310-208-2927. Thank you.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Self-Promotion: Piano Lessons & Live Piano by Payman Akhlaghi (2016, LA)

Payman Akhlaghi
Piano Lessons & Live Piano
2016 Flyer

Piano Lessons at Your Home
Payman Akhlaghi
Composer, Pianist, Tutor
MA, BA in Composition (ABD)

Near Three Decades of Experience in Private Instruction
Classical • Pop • Persian • Jewish Music
Ear-Training • Music Theory • Composition
Most Ages & Levels
Many L.A. Neighborhoods

Covering Many Areas of the Greater Los Angeles, Including West L.A.,
Santa Monica, Brentwood, Westwood, Beverly Hills, Encino & More.

 Special Rates Available Where Conditions Permit 

Lessons at Home • Live Piano at Your Events 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Amoroso, T4, Improvisation by Composer-Pianist Payman Akhlaghi (2016, Short Excerpt)

Amoroso, T4, Improvisation by Payman Akhlaghi

Amoroso, T4, a short excerpt of improvisation in the lyrical pop style,
by composer-pianist, Payman Akhlaghi (پیمان اخلاقی).
Saturday night, January 16th, 2016, digital instrument.
© 2016, Music & Video by Payman Akhlaghi. All pertinent rights reserved.
گزیده ای کوتاه از بداهه نوازی پیمان اخلاقی، آهنگساز و نوازندۀ پیانو، مقیم لس آنجلس.ـִ
© 2016، موسیقی و فیلم از پیمان اخلاقی. همۀ حقوق محفوظ است.