Golden Horn Releases Cantemir: Music in Istanbul and Ottoman Europe

Francisco, USA – Golden Horn Productions has announced the release of Cantemir: Music in
Istanbul and Ottoman Europe around 1700
, an
authoritative album celebrating the musical life of Prince Dimitrie
Cantemir (1673-1723). The album features co-directors
Ihsan Özgen
Linda Burman-Hall, and the Santa Cruz-based quintet Lux Musica.

Prince Dimitrie Cantemir (1673-1723) was born in Moldavia, then at the
rule of the Ottoman Turks. Dimitrie was sent to Istanbul as a guest of
the court to ensure Moldavia’s loyalty. Here Cantemir studied the tanbur,
a long-necked Turkish lute, earning a reputation for his knowledge of the
historical Ottoman repertoire and theory. Cantemir’s Kantemir Edvari was
a major contribution to musicology preserving 352 works in a unique
notation style he developed to document his music study, known as ebcet.
Many of these works were composed in the Ottoman pesrev and saz semai forms.

Cantemir examines three repertoires. The section titled “The World of
Cantemir: Istanbul and Ottoman Europe around 1700” explores music
composed by Cantemir and also traditional Moldavian dances, such as
Cantemir might have heard back home at his wedding. The section “New
Music in Honor of Kantemiroglu (Prince Cantemir)” features a kemençe
taksim (solo improvisation for the bowed instrument, kemençe), a form
that had just gained popularity when Cantemir was in Istanbul, and a
beraber taksim (collective improvisation), a contemporary experimental
form of improvisation pioneered by Ihsan Özgen. The new music section
debuts two compositions inspired by Cantemir’s musical legacy. “In Honor
of Prince Cantemir” (track 14) was composed by internationally celebrated
composer Lou Harrison and arranged for this recording by Linda
Burman-Hall. “Andante from Concertino per Kemançe” (track 16) was
composed by Yalçin Tura, a devoted scholar of Cantemir who recently
published a full transcription of Cantemir’s Book of the Science of
Music. The third section, “Turkish Images, European Reflections,”
presents English and French music in the alla Turca style, a style
popular in the 18th century that included Turkish-inspired percussion,
rhythms, and “exotic” melodies. One such work is Ben Jonson’s “The Turks’
Dance” (track 20).

Ihsan Özgen (kemençe, tanbur, co-director) is a self-taught musician,
composer, and teacher of the Classical Ottoman music of Turkey. He is
famous for his kemençe performances and for his improvisation of melodic
taksims. In 1991, Özgen was awarded the Abdi Ipekçi Peace Award in
recognition of his work with the Bosphorus ensemble, a group composed of
Turkish and Greek musicians. He is also the leader of the well-known
ensemble Anatolia. An instructor at the Istanbul Turkish Music
Conservatory and former guest lecturer at University California at Santa
Cruz, Özgen is a leading specialist and interpreter of Tanburi Cemil Bey,
an early 20th century Turkish composer.

Linda Burman-Hall (early keyboards, bendir, co-director) is a
musicologist/ethnomusicologist best known as a performer of historic
keyboard works. Burman-Hall’s interests and skills are wide-ranging,
including: performances with contemporary music artists Steve Reich and
Meredith Monk; premiering and editing new works by contemporary
Indonesian composers; and performing the works of medieval mystic
Hildegard von Bingen. Burman-Hall is a faculty member of the University
of California at Santa Cruz music department, a founder and artistic
director of the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, and the musical director of
Lux Musica.

Lux Musica is the quintet of Lars Johannesson, David Wilson, Amy Brodo,
Mesut Özgen, and Linda Burman-Hall. Dedicated to presenting interesting
and beautiful works from the Enlightenment, Lux Musica draws on a
versatile combination of historical flutes, violin or viola, violoncello
or viola da gamba, and historic keyboards with percussion. A mainstay of
the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, their work can also be heard on several
CDs, including their debut recording Haydn and the Gypsies: Music in the
Style Hongrois
and their recent Celtic Caravans: The Road to Romanticism.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.