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The Bosphorus by Moonlight

Sultan Portreleri

The Prague Symphony Chamber Orchestra with Cihat Askin, violin. Directed by Emre Araci and produced by Ateş Orga
Published by Kalan Müsik
£9.00 / $11.63 / €10.68 ($/€ approx)

Music by Guatelli, Pisani, Selim III, Mahmud II,
Mehmed Burhaneddin Efendi and Emre Araci

Bosphorus by Moonlight (Bogazici Mehtaplarinda Sultan Portreleri) is Emre Araci’s third Euro-Ottoman CD and takes its title from his 1997 Violin Concerto, which was inspired by Abdülhak Sinasi Hisar’s wartime novel of the same name.

Moonlight, memory and dream suffuse many of the numbers, nine of which are musical cameos of the Ottoman royal household published in the mid-1850s by the Sultan’s Italian music director, Guatelli Pasha.

As producer of this album, I chose Prague as a location: I wanted somewhere that would release the romantic within us. How could we fail, wandering the narrow streets of the Old Town under a full moon, touched by the medieval aura of the Charles Bridge and the Jewish cemetery across the river from the floodlit castle? The neo-Renaissance Rudolfinum hall did the rest.

Portrait or military quickstep, exotic refrain or Sibelian solitude ˇ every minute in that room was special. Cihat Askin’s violin lent a manly tone to the Balkan Adagio of the Concerto. Pisani’s fateful, forgotten Funeral March for the death of Abdülmecid all but stopped time as the Prague Symphony strings imbued it with a gravity to match the thunder of the night beyond.

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