Monday, December 21, 2009

Turkish Classical Music

Asian Art Museum
The Many Worlds of Turkish Classical Music
A Talk and Musical Demonstration with Three Turkish Masters

Saturday, December 19, 1:00 pm
Samsung Hall

Necati Çelik, oud
Yavuz Akalin, ney
Tumuçin Cevikoğlu, bendir, vocalist

So many people showed up for this opportunity to hear Turkish music that the start was delayed for 15 minutes while museum staff retrieved more chairs for the SRO audience. This was followed by a 30-minute content-free talk, followed by a break. It was close to 2:00pm before the musicians got to do their thing.

We heard 2 sets of classical pieces, largely from the 19th century. The musicians played continuously for each set, bridging the different pieces with short improvisations. The long & sinuous melodic lines evoked the human voice. The oud & ney almost always played in parallel. The tempos all had an unhurried, pulse-slowing gait, even in the dance that concluded the 1st set. There is a sense of high seriousness about this music. Mr. Cevikoğlu sang Sufi songs in the 2nd set. I enjoyed hearing the way he sustained syllables with an elongated wobble of the voice.

This musical tradition is very much an unexplored landscape to me. The performance often felt inward & meditative & perhaps even a bit sad. The audience was patient & appreciative. Afterward, I took a peek at the music left on the stands. It looked like typical western-style sheet music.


Immanuel Gilen said...

This is really bizarre...I think we may have been listening to Turkish classical music at the very same time (I went to a concert of Sufi music Saturday night Turkish time), 10,000 miles apart.

Axel Feldheim said...

Wow, that would be, like, synchronicity, man.

Maybe this is a new way for us to share concert experiences without being in the same country. Now if we could just find simultaneous performances of Music in 12 Parts.