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Hafez: ´Erfan and Music as Interpreted by Ostad Mortezá Varzi

Series: Bibliotheca Iranica: Performing Arts Series 7
Availability: In stock
Published: 2008
Page #: xvi + 285
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 1-56859-248-5, ISBN 13: 978-1-56859-248-0
appendix, bibliography, index, references

 
$35.00

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Quick Overview

Mortezá Varzi came from an artistically inclined family and developed his interest and knowledge in music through association with important musicians of his day. He studied the kamanche with Asghar Bahari, the acknowledged master of that instrument. Varzi became interested in mysticism through his brother Hasan, a well-known Iranian poet.

Varzi eventually joined a Sufi order and studied mystical writings, foremost among them the lyric poetry of Hafez, the 14th century Iranian poet, whose ghazals are frequently used for the avaz, classical Persian vocal music. In this work, Varzi has discussed his views on the spiritual nature of Persian music, including aspects of mode, ethos, and performance context and practice. The music and poetry provide a contemplative and cathartic healing medium to assist the listener in transcending his everyday reality and guiding him to a more humanitarian view of life.

Varzi has explored the concepts of kham (raw), pokhte (cooked or ripe), and sukhte (burnt) as expressions of the principle stages of spiritual development. For the truthseeker, separation from God, or the beloved, is due to veils, particularly the impurifies of self and mundane pursuits. Desiring union with the beloved is what propels the initiate onto the Way of the Mystics. At the kham, or immature stage, the wayfarer seeks guidance from a pir or master and drinks in the wine of mystical knowledge in the gathering of the wayfarers, metaphorically, the tavern. The initiate begins to incorporate these teachings into his life, and gradually matures (pokhte), eventually reaching the point where all imperfections have been burned away (sukhte). Thus the wayfarer attains his goal of union with the beloved through annihilation of the veils of self.

Varzi has stated that Hafez himself appeared to have gone through this same process as reflected in his poems. That once he was a traditional follower of Islam, later became a Sufi, and eventually a rend, which could be viewed as religious free thinking. In his pursuit of meaning, Hafez incorporates elements of Zoroastrianism, as well as elements of ´erfan, Iranian mysticism.

Varzi has discussed these concepts through the ghazals of Hafez, which he divided into seven groups, according to stages of spiritual development. He has provided cultural and spiritual interpretations of 55 of the ghazals of Hafez, emphasizing the transformative process of listening to music and poetry, of drinking wine, of sacrifice, and serving at the door of the tavern, the metaphorical Mystic Way. The underlying concept in the ghazals is that of gham, the ability of a person to care, to feel another’s pain. That is the basis for developing the kind of inclusive love that Varzi felt was the purpose of Persian classical music.

The bazm, or intimate party, where wine is served and music and poetry rendered, is where the alchemical transformation occurs. The listener, or follower, moves from an emphasis on mind (´aghl), on grasping and getting, to that of heart (del). Each of the modes of Persian music have a certain ethos that when combined with the right poetry, create the mood that is suitable for the state and receptivity of the listener.

Hafez explores elements of this process through symbols of wine, tavern, nightingale, rose, guides, submission, tears, and sacrifice. Hafez illustrates points often by way of contrast. He discusses, for example, the difference between the Sufi, the student of mysticism, and the ´aref, the knower of mysticism. A zealot is someone who follows the rules and traditions of one religion, while a rend incorporates truth from all religions. The mosque or monastery is where the zealot follows the admonitions of the preacher that promise him paradise in the afterlife. In the tavern, drinking the wine of metaphysical transformation creates a new being that lives in the here and now and has paradise on earth.

author

Margaret L. Caton

Margaret “Peggy” L. Caton received her Ph.D. in Music, with an emphasis in ethnomusicology, particularly Persian music. She spent one summer and three years in Iran, studying Persian language and music and conducting research for her Master’s and Ph.D degrees. Her doctoral dissertation was on the classical Persian tasnif, a vocal composition. She has taught subjects in world music for a number of different universities, including Semester at Sea through the University of Pittsburgh. Eventually she became a music and movement therapist and then a licensed psychologist, working with children, adolescents, and adults, using psychotherapy and the arts. She has continued her interest in studying Persian music, publishing various articles on the subject of classical Persian music. Photo on the left: The author and Mr. Vaziri in Boston in 1986 while attending a panel on the cultural parameters of Iranian musical expression for the Middle East Studies Association conference.

Preface

CHAPTER 1
Mortezá Varzi

CHAPTER 2
Ostad Varzi Discusses Persian Music

CHAPTER 3
Concepts in the Ghazals of Hafez

CHAPTER 4
Seven Stages of Perfection in 'Erfan(Gnosticism)

CHAPTER 5
Stage One: Attracted (Moshtaq)

CHAPTER 6
Stage Two: Seeker (Taleb)

CHAPTER 7
Stage Three: Initiate of the Way-Imitation
(Salek: Taqlid-e Tariqat)

CHAPTER
Stage Four: Initiate of the Way-Knowledge
(Salek: Ma'refat-e Tariqat)

CHAPTER 9
Stage Five: Disciple (Kham)

CHAPTER 10
Stage Six: Mature (Pokhte)

CHAPTER 11
Stage Seven: Purified (Sukhte )

CHAPTER 12
Annihilation (Fana)

References 193

Appendix:
Persian Texts
From Divan-e Hafez,Tehran, Entesharat-e Eqbal, Winter 1374

Bibliography

Index

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