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Baker's Dozen

The Pleasure Of Discomfort: Siavash Amini's Favourite Music
Jennifer Lucy Allan , August 26th, 2020 09:07

Siavash Amini discusses his 13 favourite albums with Jennifer Lucy Allan, including the power of romanticism, weeping over the death of Leonard Cohen, and why Nils Frahm has a lot to answer for. Photo by Selma Pour-Amin


Alfred Schnittke – Requiem (conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste)

Tell me about this one. How did you come across it?

Through ECM, the new series –the classical branch of ECM, which I discovered through another collection in a bookstore. I once got arrested with a CD outside of his store.

What? Please explain!

I found this guy that had all the ECM new series and a lot of stuff by American minimalists like Steve Reich, Philip Glass. So I went to buy a CD. There are these vans – the morality police. They tell women to do their hijab right and things. I was this weird looking teenager with a bunch of CDs looking suspicious, so they called me into the van. And they said, 'Okay, What is this? What is this CD? I bet it's pornography'. And I was like – its instrumental music, it's actually religious! I was begging to keep them.

Were you carrying ECM CDs or Schnittke?

The ECM new series, but through that I got to know all these former Soviet Union composers, like [Giya] Kancheli, [Valentin] Silvestrov, and of course, Schnittke. So I got to Schnittke through these, but he got more important than the others for me, because of the tension and contrasts in his music.