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Istanbul to London

Prague Symphony Orchestra, directed by Emre Aracı, produced by Ateş Orga
Published by Kalan Müsik
£11.99 / $15.23 / €14.00 ($/€ approx)

Arditti: Inno Turco
d’Adelburg: Aux bords du Bosphore, Symphonic Fantasy
Mariani: Hymme National

When Emre Aracı showed me the score of August d’Adelburg’s Symphonic Fantasy about the Bosphorus dedicated to Sultan Abdülmecid (c 1858-59), unearthed in İstanbul University’s Rare Books Library, it was obvious that here was something of landmark importance. A pair of ceremonial choral hymns by two Italians linked with the Ottoman court, Angelo Mariani (1849) and Luigi Arditi (1856/67) - grandly public displays of what Aracı calls the ‘unprecedented marriage between Ottoman tongue and Italian operatics’ – whetted the appetite further. (Inno Turco was sung by 1,600 at Crystal Palace during the 1867 State Visit of Sultan Abdülaziz.) Mindful that playing in Western-style string ensembles was the choice of many a young woman in 19th century harem life, equally that most repertory of the period has survived only through indifferent keyboard ‘blueprints’, Aracı’s previous Euro-Ottoman albums were all string-based reconstructions. Not İstanbul to London, however, where for the first time we have a chance to hear what the composers themselves wrote and wanted. Resurrecting these large-scale lost glories of Ottoman-inspired symphonic and choral music in the Rudolfinum last March, involving nearly 130 musicians and singers plus organ, was an uncommon privilege.
Ateş Orga

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