Behzad Ranjbaran

Performing Ensemble: Orchestra
Duration: 22:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

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Behzad Ranjbaran - Persian Trilogy: Seemorgh

Quick Overview

The piece "Seemorgh" (Phoenix) was inspired by an ancient Persian legend about a giant magic bird and the struggle between good and evil. The legend is taken from the Shah-nameh (the Book of Kings) as written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi (d. ca. 1025). The Shah-nameh is Persia's greatest epic poem, some 60,000 verses in length. The epic retells the history of the kings of Persia from mythical times to the seventh century.

In the tale, a mighty warrior, Saam, abandons his newly born son at the mountain called Albourz in fear of an evil curse. The baby boy, named Zaal, was born with white hair like an old man. Seemorgh finds the white-haired boy and carries him in her enormous claws to her nest on the highest point of the mountain. Seemorgh, through divine guidance, understands she is to become his guardian and teach him the secrets of truth and thought. Over the years Saam overcomes his fear and seeks his son, and with the help of the Great Cosmic Creator, Saam finds him. When it is time for Zaal to leave, Seemorgh cautions him of the evil ways of the world. Seemorgh then plucks one of her multicolored feathers and gives it to Zaal, telling him to stroke it when he needs help and in a magic moment, she will appear.

The three movements of the piece are inspired by the three elements of the legend of Seemorgh: the mountain, the moon, and the sun, respectively.

The opening horn section is the harmonic and melodic basis of the piece. The close relationship between the outer movements creates an arch form in which the center movement carries the main emotional weight of the piece and the focal gravity point.

"Seemorgh" was written on a grant from the New Jersey Council on the Arts.

Scores & Parts

Seemorgh - Full Score - Study
Seemorgh - Full Score - Large

Additional Information

Composition Date 1991
Orchestration 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 2 1; Timp. 3Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
Premiere 27th March, 1993. Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta; Long Beach, California.


I. The Mountain
II. The Moonlight
III. The Sunrise

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