Leo Küpper, Hossein Malek; Santur: Orient, OccidentSub Rosa
SR 419 CD
This disc offers two approaches to an ancient instrument called the santur. The first, by the Iranian master musician Hossein Malek, consists of improvised pieces recorded by his friend Leo Kupper in the '80s, representing a unique and valuable archive. The second is Kupper's Western approach as a student of Malek, filtered through undetectable electronics. Includes 24-page booklet.
"The santur is a stringed instrument in the same family as the Appalachian hammered dulcimer, the Chinese yangqin, or the East European cimbalom. These instruments consist of sets of tuned strings laid out in a kind of flat, rectangular resonating box, played with various implements including ornate wooden hammers and even bird feathers. These gorgeous-sounding instruments are capable of great delicacy in terms of touch and offer a wide palette of harmonic possibilities. It is thus perfectly suited to be a lead instrument in the classical music that has been handed down from what was once the Persian empire. The music of Iran is modal in nature, based on complex systems known as dastgah. Hossein Malek is one of the country's virtuoso players on the santur, known for breathtaking improvisations from the dastgah, driving his accompanists on the sheepskin drum called the tombak into knuckle-cracking fits of propulsion." --AllMusic