Posts Tagged ‘Fazil Say’

Istanbul Symphony (Op 28) – Fazil Say

June 3, 2012

Note: Concert starts at 16 minutes.

Black Earth / Kara Toprak – Fazıl Say

June 2, 2012

Black Earth was inspired by Kara Toprak, a popular song in Turkey. The composer of the song, Aşık Veysel (1891-1973), was one of the last great Turkish balladeers and the final link in a thousand-year tradition.

Veysel went blind during childhood following an attack of smallpox. He subsequently began to learn to play the Saz, a Turkish lute, and to study poetry, initially for his own amusement. He made acquaintance with a variety of folk poets, and, after 1928, also travelled from village to village with his songs. Through the years, he became a cultural symbol of the Turkish Republic.

In the song Kara Toprak, Veysel describes loneliness and loss. All that remains is the Black Earth, the color of the landscape in his native town of Sivas.

Fazil Say imitates the sound of the Saz through his selection of a muted effect in the Introduction and Epilogue of Black Earth – a meditation on the themes of a ballad. In contrast, folklore, Romantic piano style and jazz are entwined in the central sections to form a large-scale outburst. Fazil Say performs this works in both concerts of classical music and a jazz festivals: particularly in the folkloristic sections, he employs the improvisatory freedom which is inherent to both folk music and jazz.

Turkish pianist Fazil Say accused of insulting Islam (via twitter)

June 2, 2012

Turkish composer and international classical and jazz pianist Fazil Say has been charged by a court in Istanbul in Turkey of insulting Islam via a series of messages on twitter.

He is one of several artists facing similar charges. Meanwhile the West is turning a blind eye to a hard-line Islamic government and the creeping Islamisation of what has been a secular society in Turkey.

Fazil Say faces 18 months in prison for ‘publicly insulting religious values that are adopted by a part of the nation’. It is unusual for twitter posts to be the subject of an indictment in Turkey. Some were original messages, others re-tweets.

One re-tweet poked fun at an Islamic vision of the afterlife, likening heaven’s promise of rivers of wine to a tavern and of virgins to a brothel. It referred to a poem by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam.

Another tweet joked about a muezzin’s rapid delivery of the call to prayer, asking if he wanted to get away quickly for a drink.

Many intellectuals and writers have faced similar charges in recent years, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, who last year was fined $3,700 for saying in a Swiss newspaper that Turks ‘have killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians’, a simple statement of fact which successive Turkish regimes have refused to acknowledge.

Orhan Pamuk was forced to flee Turkey. Attacks on him led to an international outcry.

Turkey is to be commended for sheltering refugees from the brutal Assad regime in Syria, but we should not let this hide human rights abuses within Turkey itself.