ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fazıl Say (C) performs his latest piece ‘Mesopotamia’ along with the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra which is conducted by Gürer Aykal (L).
The world premiere of Turkish piano virtuoso and composer Fazıl Say’s second symphony, “Mesopotamia,” received a 3,000-person standing ovation June 23 when it was presented at the 40th Istanbul Music Festival.
The piece was commissioned by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), which also backs the festival, and was performed at the Haliç Congress Center along with the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gürer Aykal.
In the first half of the show, Say played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor. At the end of the first half, the virtuoso was called back on stage for an encore in which he played his “Black Earth.”
The second half of the show was allocated for the Mesopotamia Symphony, which Say has termed his masterpiece.
“Mesoptamia” is a 55-minute work written for a 130-people orchestra. The symphony consists in 10 movements: “Two kids on the plain,” “The Tigris,” “About the culture of death,” “Melodrama,” “The Moon,” The Sun,” “The Bullet,” “The Euphrates,” “On War” and “Mesopotamia Elegy.”
The symphony evokes scenes from the land between Southeast Anatolia and the Persian Gulf but Say goes far beyond the mere illustration of a landscape in the mould of a Romantic symphonic poem with his greater focus on cultural perceptions of the Near Eastern region through the application of constructive and deconstructive elements. Movements entitled “About the culture of death” and “Bullet” illustrate the longstanding conflict in the Middle East with a spark of hope for a solution.