Break & Change: of light and shadows
For much of the 20th century, the main aim of most composers in Turkey was to sound ‘Turkish’ while being as ‘Western’ as possible, the formula being to use folk music as source material while composing in a modernist vein for thoroughly western ensembles and forms. This is no longer the case. For some years now, there have been independent enclaves of Turkish composers in The Netherlands, Germany, Paris, and the USA, associated with leading institutions and teachers, and the typical pattern is for the ambitious young Turkish composer to go abroad, prove himself, and return. Until quite recently the most that could be hoped for on return was the occasional orchestral commission but the scene has changed radically in the last ten years, during which Istanbul has turned into a veritable hotbed of contemporary music with the Hezarfen Ensemble leading the way.
Far from projecting a single identity, music from contemporary Turkey challenges listeners with its resistance to categorisation. In “of light and shadows”, Hezarfen offers a glimpse of this diversity. From Tolga Yaylalar’s subtle microtonal, post-spectral landscapes, to Onur Türkmen’s delicate reinterpretation of traditional “makam” and “kemençe” within his monophonic concept of ‘line’ (“hat”) and Gedizlioğlu’s eruptive, post-scelsian vision of what it means to be Mediterranean (Akdenizli), “of light and shadows” showcases a bold young generation of Turkish composers each intent on using whatever tools necessary to create their own musical voices. While by no means comprehensive, we hope this programme gives some insight into the diversity and expressive potential of music in Turkey today.
Akdenizli – The Mediterranean
for violin, viola and piano (2007)
di luce e ombra
for ensemble (2005) GP
String Quartet No. 1 (2004) GP
for kemençe and ensemble (2011) WP
Susma – don’t remain silent
String Quartet No. 2 (2007)
El Emeği – handmade
for ensemble (2012)
for ensemble (2007)