FAZIL SAY (b.1970): Mesopotamia Symphony (No. 2), Op. 38, Universe Symphony (No. 3), Op. 43.
Catalogue Number: 12P008
Reference: V 5346
Description: Those of you who bought Say's last symphony disc (01O082) last January will be prepared for the filmic majesty and orchestral splendor of his 2011 Mesopotamia Symphony, which lasts 48 minutes and is divided into ten sections. A bass flute and bass recorder represent two young boys who represent our guides through the ancient and modern history of the region (until one of them is killed by shelling) while a theremin is employed as their protecting angel. A Kurdish folk song is the main theme of the symphony, appearing in different guises throughout and much Turkish percussion, a waterphone and various "ambience instruments" provide all kinds of unique and exotic effects. Universe Symphony (2012) is quite a bit shorter - six movements lasting 26 minutes - but, don't worry theremin fans, it also uses your favorite instrument in what is rather like a soundtrack to a science fiction film (and listen for a reminiscence of Mosolov's Iron Foundry in the Supernova movement. The movements are Expansion of the Universe, Venus, Storm on Jupiter, Earth-like Planet Gliese 581 g, Supernova and Dark Matter. Say uses changes in rhythm to depict the expansion of the universe, major tonality for nature, minor tonality for human life, atonality for chaos, the note D for the frequency of the void of the universe and depicts the other subjects in similarly picturesque ways (tritone intervals for Venus, a burst of trumpets for a meteor shower, E and C# from NASA frequency data as a basis for Jupiter, etc.). Similarly exotic to Mesopotamia but, dare I say it, more "out of this world". There, as trite as I can be, I said it.