A girl in culottes is waiting to sing in the corner. The piano arpeggios up an atmosphere of heightened feeling. The intimate space is transformed into that very place your mind is at when you read a passage that rings true over time, over distance, over language. The room’s acoustics add to the piano, which together with the context make this rendition of Parisienne Moonlight even more poignant than the original version; overall an unremarkable song by Liverpool progressive rock group Anathema released in 1999 on their album Judgement, played on electric keys, with no room ambiance in the released recording. Additionally this version works better as the Anathema track is so ‘new-age’, a genre that has not aged well, and has an accompanying singer for the vocals whereas Maryam Sirvan’s lone voice here works much better in this room of silent witnesses, there’s that palpable sense of both being alone in a room full of people, and of collective empathy. Somehow the rather bland lyrics take a back seat, and it’s all about the sound and space. The sound designer Milad Bagheri told us about the recording “Our audience were mainly people who relate to the music industry, and music students.” Iranians have a long-standing tradition of composition and performance with the piano, some even tuning them to Persian scales. The first piano was brought to Iran in 1806 and it later flourished under the Qajar kings before during the 19th Century.
“I feel I know you, I don’t know where I don’t know why.”
Parisienne Moonlight Rahst, March 2014.