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David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2015

There was a time when the composer, Ahmet Saygun, seemed to be the only representative of Turkish music with a presence on the international platform. He had studied music at the Schola Cantorum in Paris with Vincent d’Indy among his mentors, before returning to Ankara in 1928 where he divided his time between teaching and composing. This new release brings together his Cello Sonata and works for cello and piano by three of his pupils. So far as his own music was concerned, he was very much part of all that had become fashionable in the 1920’s, and then into which he wove Turkish folk music. The sonata dates from 1935, before native influences took hold, the score a mix of melodic invention and the doctrines of the Second Viennese School. It is a free flowing score that may take time to form roots in your memory, but well worth the effort. İlhan Usmanbaş, born 1921, began his education with Saygun in Ankara, but moved to the United States as a pupil of Dallapiccola and Babbitt. His series of six short cello works coming directly from their influences, and replete with the musical forms beloved by the avant garde in the 1960’s, including random performing devices. All very innovative. Born in 1965, Hasan Uçarsu also moved to the States following his years with Saygun, George Crumb becoming his teacher. A fervent believer of the importance of folk song, the brief I said A, I said B is an emotional and melodic score, that mood continuing in the attractive Three Turkish Folk Songs from Özkan Manav. The disc has been a problematic journey for the Turkish-based CelloPianoDuo of Dilbağ Tokay and Emine Serdaroğlu, with so many technical demands placed on both of them, though I have felt Tokay is most happy when she can make her cello sing a beautiful melody. The disc comes as a download from www.naxos.com. © 2015 David’s Review Corner





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