AHMED ADNAN SAYGUN (1907-1991): Yunus Emre for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 08V011
Description: The London Times described Saygun as "the grand old man of Turkish music, who was to his country what Jean Sibelius is to Finland, what Manuel de Falla is to Spain, and what Béla Bartók is to Hungary". This huge, and hugely impressive, oratorio of 1946, his first large-scale international success, bears this out. Having lived through the Ottoman Empire - Occupation - Atatürk - WW II years, Saygun found powerful resonances in the poetry of the 13th century Sufi mystic Yunus Emre, who had experienced the demise of the Seljuk Empire, the Crusades, and the Mongol incursions and had emerged with a humanistic insistence on universal brotherhood and tolerance, and a rejection of hatred and sectarianism. If to some it might seem incongruous to set Turkish poetry of Sufic Islam to music that for all practical purposes resembles a highly effective, high neo-Romantic Christian oratorio, drawing amply on the Western tradition from the Baroque to the Romantic period, then the music - magnificent, dramatic, and emotionally gripping - speaks for itself. And the message of peace and brotherhood through a closer acquaintance with God, is after all the sort of thing that Western oratorios have been written about for centuries. The Eastern flavor is undeniably present too; extended instrumental recitatives suggest the quasi-improvisational lines of Turkish folk music, and the accompaniment of the vocal recitatives is drawn from the timbres of folk ensembles. Saygun makes extensive use of traditional Turkish modes, though as a basis for Western harmonies and progressions, and his melodies are full of modal inflections. A richly textured, sumptuously orchestrated work of considerable power. Turkish-English texts. Birgül Su Ariç (soprano), Aylin Ateş (mezzo), Aydin Uştuk (tenor), Tevfik Rodos (bass), Osnabrück Youth Choir, Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra; Naci Özgüç.