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The Turkish Five Who Re-define Classical Music for the Turkish Republic – Lyric Say

In all of the numbered composer teams, resembling Les Six or The 5, one you not often hear about have been the Turkish 5. The 5, Ahmet Adnan Saygun (1907-1991), Ulvi Cemal Erkin (1906-1972), Cemal Reşit Rey (1904-1985), Hasan Ferit Alnar (1906-1978), Necil Kazım Akses (1908-1999), took up the problem of defining classical music for the newly established Turkish Republic.

Busts of the Turkish Five at the Ankara State Conservatory entrance hall

Busts of the Turkish 5 on the Ankara State Conservatory entrance corridor

The Turkish Republic was proclaimed on 29 October 1923, following the reforms initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He served as its first president from 1923 till his demise in 1938. His concepts for transferring Turkey out of the shadow of the previous Ottoman Empire and resisting the post-WWI partition concepts of the Allied powers concerned secularizing society, giving it an industrial base, and making sweeping progressive reforms.

The Turkish 5 have been all born within the early twentieth century, all inside much less that 4 years of one another. Following the directives of Atatürk, who needed Turkish music to change into a world phenomenon, the composers made a melding of Turkish folks music, conventional and modal tunings inside a western symphonic fashion. Their repertoire lined all genres, from operas and ballets to orchestral, chamber, choral, and piano music. With the sponsorship of the Turkish authorities, Turkish musicians have been hand chosen and despatched to check in Europe. Saygun and Erkin went to Paris, Rey went to Paris and Geneva, and Alnar and Akses studied in Vienna. After their research, all of them returned to Turkey.

Ahmet Adnan Saygun left Turkey to check in Paris in 1928 at age 21. He went to the Scola Cantorum in Paris the place he studied composition (Vincent d’Indy), idea and counterpoint (Eugène Borrel), organ (Édouard Souberbielle), and Gregorian chant (Amédée Gastoué). Late-Romantic music and French impressionism additionally got here to his ears, and his first orchestral works have been carried out in Paris. He returned to Turkey in 1931 to show and in 1934 was conductor of the Presidential Symphony orchestra.

An essential affect on Saygun was Béla Bartók, who visited Turkey in 1936 to analysis folks music. Saygun accompanied Bartók round Tukey they usually usually labored collectively. Meşeli, a folks dance carried out with spoons within the hand, was the idea for the primary motion of his piano work Anadolu’dan (From Anatolia).

Ahmet Adnan Saygun

Ahmet Adnan Saygun

Ahmet Adnan Saygun: Anadolu’dan (From Anatolia), Op. 25 – I. Meşeli (Beyza Yazgan, piano)

Ulvi Cemal Erkin studied on the Paris Conservatoire and the École Normale de Musique, working with Isidor Philipp (piano), Noël Gallon (composition), and Nadia Boulanger (composition). Simply as in Saygun’s music, Erkin’s mixture of Turkish and western components makes for a particular sound. His best-known work is Köçekçe (1943), primarily based on the normal köçek dance of males in girls’s garments.

Ulvi Cemal Erkin

Ulvi Cemal Erkin

Köçek troupe at a fair, showing Sultan Ahmed's 1720 celebration of his son's circumcision, 1720 (Istanbul: Topkapı Palace)

Köçek troupe at a good, exhibiting Sultan Ahmed’s 1720 celebration of his son’s circumcision, 1720 (Istanbul: Topkapı Palace)

Erkin: Köçekçe (Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra; Theodore Kuchar, cond.)

Cemal Reşit Rey, the oldest of the Turkish 5, made his title in opera and operettas, lots of them to texts written by his brother, Ekrem Reşit Rey. Cemal Rey began his research on the Geneva Conservatory in 1914. When he graduated in 1919, he went to Paris and studied with Marguerite Long (piano), Raoul Laparra (composition), and Gabriel Fauré (music aesthetics). Returning to Turkey in 1923, he taught on the Darülhenan (which might later change into the İstanbul Municipal Conservatory) and established a chamber orchestra there in 1934.

Cemal Reşit Rey

Cemal Reşit Rey

Cemal Reşit Rey: Variations on a Theme of an İstanbul Tune, “Kâtibim” (Idil Biret, piano; Studio orchestra; Hikmet Şimşek, cond.)

Hasan Ferit Alnar began in music with formal coaching in Turkish conventional music on the kanun, the one of the Turkish 5 with this basic background. After beginning his college work in structure, he went to Vienna to check with Joseph Marx (composition) and Oswald Kabasta (conducting). In Turkey, he was conductor of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra from 1946 to 1952 and from 1952 to 1960, was Normal Music Director of the Ankara Opera Home.

His Piano Trio, 1966, is a revision of his 1929 Trio Fantasia. Consistent with his conventional music coaching, it’s written with the robust affect of the makam tuning system.

Hasan Ferit Alnar

Hasan Ferit Alnar

Alnar: Piano Trio – II. Sollerando (Bosphorus Trio)

Necil Kazım Akses began his research on the Istanbul Municipal Conservatory with Rey after which, like Alnar, studied with Joseph Marx in Vienna earlier than going to the Prague Conservatory to check with Josef Suk and Alois Hába. Returning to Turkey, he was co-founder of the Ankara State Conservatory, with Paul Hindemith. His favorite style was giant symphonic kinds and in his Violin Concerto, which was commissioned by Turkish Radio in 1967, he created a two-movement that challenges our concepts of the violin versus the orchestra.

Necil Kazım Akses

Necil Kazım Akses

Necil Kazim Akses: Violin Concerto – I. Allegro (Cihat Aşkin, violin; Hannover Radio Philharmonic Orchestra; Rengim Gökmen, cond.)

The Turkish 5 completed all that Atatürk required, efficiently placing Turkish musical concepts right into a Western context, however, sadly, the composers’ international impression hasn’t stood the take a look at of time. It’s fantastic to rediscover these works that deliver one other aspect to European music. Most significantly, they supplied a path for the next generations of Turkish composers.

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