About this Recording
8.574085 - SAY, F.: Violin Works - Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 / Violin Concerto (Eichhorn, Say, German Radio Saarbr├╝cken-Kaiserslautern Philharmonic, Eschenbach)

Fazıl Say (b. 1970)
Complete Violin Works


With his extraordinary pianistic talents, Fazıl Say has connected with audiences and critics alike for more than 25 years, in a way that has become rare in the increasingly materialistic and elaborately organised classical music world. Concerts featuring this artist are something different to the norm—they are more direct, more open, more exciting. In short, they go straight to the heart. He has been commissioned to write music for, among others, the Salzburger Festspiele, the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg- Vorpommern, Wiener Konzerthaus, Dresdner Philharmonie, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the BBC. Say has composed 88 works and recorded 50 albums to date, and his oeuvre comprises four symphonies, two oratorios, various concertos and numerous works for piano and chamber music, including İstanbul Symphony (No. 1), Mesopotamia Symphony (No. 2), Black Earth, Nazım Oratorio and the Mount Ida series.

Guest appearances have taken Say to countless countries on all five continents, and French newspaper Le Figaro called him ‘a genius’. Fazıl Say appears courtesy of Warner Classics.

The performers

The album you are going to listen to features all my violin works to date. The performer of these works is the extraordinary violinist Friedemann Eichhorn. He is a true artist. He devoted himself to this repertoire, and through his artistic abilities has created a wonderful album. Legendary conductor Christoph Eschenbach conducts the Violin Concerto with great passion, and the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern—one of the greatest orchestras in Germany—performs the work with fervour and serious attention to detail. In both the Sonatas for Violin and Piano, I also perform with Friedemann. We wanted to create a reference recording for my complete works for violin, and for violin and piano. Special thanks to Naxos for making this possible and Friedemann Eichhorn for his artistic soul.

Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1, Op. 7 (1997) • Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2, ‘Mount Ida’ (Kaz Dağları), Op. 82 (2019)

I composed my first violin and piano sonata, Op. 7, in 1997. It is one of the works written in my youth. It contains five movements, and features a lot of Turkish motifs—listening to it is like taking a short trip to Anatolia. The first movement is melancholy. The second movement provides an atmosphere evoking the jazz that is played at an Ottoman Palace. The third movement is a horon, an energetic dance originating from the Black Sea region. The fourth movement is an improvisation on the folk song Odam Kireçtir. The last movement evokes the melancholic atmosphere of the first.

I composed Violin Sonata No. 2, ‘Kaz Dağları’ for Friedemann in 2019. I, along with the people of Turkey, have been very much affected by the ‘massacre of nature’ (in 2019 gold mining activities led to widespread deforestation) that happened at Mount Ida. The work’s main theme is inspired by this incident. The first movement is Decimation of Nature, the second Wounded Bird and the third Rite of Hope, each representing the situations created by the destruction of ecosystems. The music conveys the messages of uprising against those who have desecrated the land, and solidarity with those who stand with nature. This is especially depicted in the Wounded Bird movement.

Cleopatra for Violin, Op. 34 (2010)

Cleopatra is a short piece composed for solo violin. It was actually commissioned by a competition ten years ago to be the morceaux imposés audition piece. Cleopatra is tremendously virtuosic and technically very difficult. Contestants performed this piece to decide who would reach the finals of the competition in 2011. Cleopatra is dance-like in nature, and depicts the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra’s character. The violin is also used as a percussive instrument which creates rhythmic melodies for this short concert piece.

Violin Concerto ‘1001 Nights in the Harem’, Op. 25 (2007)

Violin Concerto ‘1001 Nights in the Harem’, Op. 25, was written in 2007. The premiere took place in Lucerne and was given by Patricia Kopatchinskaja. All the erotic and epic elements of music of the palace from centuries past are reflected in Friedemann’s performance. The third movement’s main theme is taken from Kâtibim, a famous Turkish folk song, which is also found in other languages and regions as well. The first, second and fourth movements feature Turkish percussive instruments such as the kudüm, bendir and darbuka alongside the violin. The percussion acts together with the violin, both dominating the music as soloists. In this recording these parts are performed by Aykut Köselerli, who also performed in the premiere in 2008.

Fazıl Say

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