Listening to the music after reading these notes one can't help but be struck by how well they capture the journey he took from darkness to light. The titles of individual pieces aren't what you'd call an accurate indication of their musical content; you'd think tunes called "The Laziest Summer Afternoon" or "Dancing Under The Walnut Tree" would be lighthearted and carefree when the former sounds nothing at all like any idle summer day I've ever had and the latter bears no relation whatsoever to dancing. Perhaps something was lost in their translation from the original Farsi, but I think he's commenting on the sense of disconnect he must have felt witnessing scenes of violence and trouble on beautiful summer days. Idyllic conditions have no bearing on how humans behave. It can be a beautiful day and people can still commit atrocities just as easily as if a horrible storm were taking place. The distance between the meaning conveyed by the title of the song and the story the music tells us captures that horrible irony better than anything I've heard before.
Everyone of these pieces has an emotional depth that far outstrips most music we're used to hearing, whether popular or classical. Kalhor has taken the basic skill set required to play Persian classical music to build a collection of pieces that explore both the depths the human spirit can sink to and the heights to which it can ascend. You may have trouble believing this is the work of only two men playing given the multitude of sounds, tones, and emotions they express, but it is indeed only Kalhor and Fard and their two instruments on each track. If you've never experienced non-European classical music this recording will be an eye opener, dispelling any doubts you've ever had of music's capacity to cross cultural and linguistic boundaries. The gulf between the Iranian and Western governments is huge these days. Yet listening to recordings like this one help to remind us that the divide between the people of our respective cultures is far smaller than some would have us think.