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Arash Behzadi: “The Last Sigh” – a supremely gifted pianist and composer

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Posted July 31, 2018 by Peter Burns in Headlines

As a Canadian Iranian whose musical evolution has its beginnings in traditional Persian folk music, Arash Behzadi’s vibrant piano compositions explore the gamut of human emotions. “The piano mirrors existence in all its complexities from moments of profound sadness and loss to exhilaration and new beginnings,” he says. Arash’s soulful searchings have evolved in the last few years, spurred by a dedication to yoga along with explorations into a variety of art forms and fresh interpretations of New Age music. He is a creative collaborator working with renowned choreographers, artists, and musicians. Arash’s audience is a global one. He has performed at concerts and events in Bali, most notably the Bali Spirit Festival, as well as in Geneva, New York, the World Trade Centre Club in Dubai, the Tirgan Festival in Toronto and at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Arash Behzadi’s best music emerges from those spaces where the melody finds its own refractions, unimpeded by pointless ornamentation and overblown classical flourishes that tarnish so many modern-day pianists work. On “The Last Sigh”, Arash goes deep, extending his ringing, open-air, melodic sound, while embracing minimalist influences.

Strangely the opening melodic sequence from is instantly recognizable, even if one hasn’t heard it before, using none other than dark note themes to form a somber cascade of rhythmic quality, which hovers below a myriad of resonant bittersweet melodies.

Arash’s particular arrangement of this piece is stunning for its use of wonderful dynamic range between understated explorations, to determined higher registering notes. However, more wonderful is the moment when one sees through the tune playing in ostinato.

Backed by an insistent string accompaniment, and one realizes the complexity of the syncopated rhythms forming an elaborate backdrop of notes that amazingly never topples over the main theme. Arash’s usage of contrast is evident everywhere.

His pianissimo in the opening bars become an emotional entity, while at other times his sudden accentuations are refreshing reminders that dynamic music is being played as a celebration to life itself, rather than just an ode to melancholy uniformity. There is an uplifting quality to the melodies that evolve through various sections of the track.

Arash Behzadi has a wonderful sense of dynamics and timing, knowing exactly when to pause for dramatic effect. I was also aware of how, in certain sections, his left hand provided a solid anchor, while the right hand danced lightly over the melody.

Arash is a supremely gifted pianist and composer with a flair for writing daring melodies and performing them with great style and emotion. There is also a distinct musical identity that is present in his playing. “The Last Sigh” is an unconfutable beauty in modern piano repertoire, and if given the chance is a thoroughly satisfying example of emotional representation through music.

What sets Arash Behzadi apart from other contemporary pianists is his strong sense of melody and the way he develops his themes musically. His pieces range from those conveying sheer delight in tone to quieter, more somber executions. “The Last Sigh” embraces both with equal performance dexterity.

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