Apogee is a five-piece album by Iranian-Canadian composer Farshid Samandari. From Bashō haikus to Rumi’s mystical poetry, from Japanese Noh theater to particle physics, the composer draws on a wide variety of disciplines to take us on a colourful journey. Witness the magnificent cover, a painting by the Iranian calligrapher Mehrdad Shoghi.
Based in Vancouver, Samandari is composer-in-residence of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. A mix of cultures marks his work, which he defines as “unity in diversity.” Apogee for solo flute creates a contrast by borrowing from classic Persian scales and modes and a resolutely contemporary discourse in which Mark Takeshi McGregor’s flute explores a vast array of textures and techniques.
In the triptych From Fire To Water, again borrowing a vocabulary from the Persian musical tradition, Samandari develops a very open musical environment where the four instruments (alto flute, viola, harp and percussion) flourish in a dynamic of attraction and repulsion, joining in silences or brief rhythmic patterns.
Over the course of 70 minutes, the performances are impeccable, rich in tone and dynamics, with welcome clarity and sonic precision. The composer is a master of silence, resonance a variety of instrumental techniques. His voice is characterized by an openness to tones that captivate and surprise us. An inventive and musical discovery.