Under a Bosphorus moon

When the festival turned inwards: an evening of soul-caressing under the umbrella pines of Emirgan

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 18, 2022


On Monday June 13 I went to a concert of Turkish classical music given as part of this year’s İKSV Music Festival, on the Fıstıklı Teras of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Emirgan. The fact that this terrace overlooks the Bosphorus is important in itself, but its significance increased to...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Reset time: spellbinding Mirzayev, Cilea, Donizetti and Liszt

An exceptionally enjoyable concert at the new Atatürk Cultural Centre – for all its failure to deliver ‘volume’

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 14, 2022


On Saturday June 11 I made my first visit to the newly-opened Türk Telekom Opera Hall in the Atatürk Cultural Centre in Taksim Square. The occasion was a concert by the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra that was part of the Beyoğlu Kültür Yolu Festivali, an event that translates as the...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares, Highlights Turkey

Music in the sound-scented air: highlights of the 50th Istanbul Festival

A whistlestop tour of the festival by Cornucopia's music critic

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 2, 2022


The countdown has begun for this year’s İKSV Music Festival, which is to begin on June 6. Classical music enthusiasts may have already read my piece on this subject in the latest edition of Cornucopia, but a gentle reminder may be necessary.  I need to make it clear at the...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, Main Featured Turkey

Devilish stuff

Quartet Muartet ten years on

By John Shakespeare Dyson | October 7, 2021


One warm evening in September, four of Turkey’s most talented jazzmen – people who had not played together for over ten years – had a musical reunion that I was privileged to attend (Above: Quartet Muartet 10 years on: from left, Sarp Maden, Genco Arı, Alp Ersönmez, Volkan Öktem). The...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Musical Shares

The cat’s whiskers

Bliss under the pines: the Istanbul Music Festival is back and our music critic indulged in his first live concert of the year

By John Shakespeare Dyson | August 27, 2021

On Wednesday August 25 I went to Emirgan for a concert on the ‘Fıstıklı Teras’ (Pine Tree Terrace) of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum. It was a balmy summer evening and outside the Atlı Köşk – the main building of the complex, approached via a wide marble stairway – there was...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Now you hear it, now you don’t

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 28, 2021

A concert by players from the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded on April 8, was streamed online on June 13. Conducted by Cem Mansur, they played works with a retro flavour by Ligeti, Respighi and Stravinsky. I, in my naiveté, believed that it would be possible to access the concert...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Good reverberations

Notes on ‘Secret Wildflower’ and Ayna Veer, the new album from Aydın Esen and friends

By John Shakespeare Dyson | April 22, 2021


It is too long since I heard USA-based Turkish jazz pianist Aydın Esen play live. I can still recall the chromatic crunchiness of his chords. At that concert in Istanbul in July 2019 (described in my blog), I watched and listened in awe as spherical baubles of meaningful melody crystallised...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Jazz

Announcing a streamed concert from Borusan

By John Shakespeare Dyson | March 21, 2021


The Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra is to give a streamed concert on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The programme is of 20th-century works by Schönberg, Stravinsky and Ligeti, and the guest conductor will be Cem’i Can Deliorman, conductor of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra. I will, God willing, be reviewing the proceedings...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Not too late to catch the last spoonful of the Jazz Fest

By John Shakespeare Dyson | October 29, 2020


The online streaming of the İKSV Jazz Festival concerts is due to finish on November 3. You have been warned! The tap is about to run dry, so now is the time to catch up on what you have been missing at online.iksv.org.https://online.iksv.org/caz Selecting a concert at random from the...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Jazz, - Musical Shares, Shopping

Mélodies III: Fauré in Isfahan – the later works

John Shakespeare Dyson completes his series of articles on the French ‘chanson’

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 27, 2020


With this, the sixth and final instalment in our series of articles on composers of chansons – French art songs – we conclude our exploration of the songs of Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924). In this particular blog we will be examining the songs he wrote later in his life – from...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Mélodies III: Fauré in Isfahan – the middle period

‘Taste, harmonic sensibility, the love of pure lines, of unexpected and colorful modulations’

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 11, 2020


With this, the fifth instalment in our series of articles on composers who wrote chansons – French art songs – we continue our exploration of the songs of Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924), this time covering his middle period. Previous instalments have focused on the songs of Reynaldo Hahn, Debussy’s earlier and...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Hotbed of passions: memories of the splendid Naum Theatre

Pera’s opera house, star of Istanbul’s cultural scene, survived tempestuous rivalries before going up in smoke on June 5, 1870

By Emre Aracı | June 4, 2020


Exactly 150 years ago, on June 5, 1870, Istanbul’s Italian opera house, the Naum Theatre, burnt to the ground in the great fire of Pera which ravaged a large section of the neighbourhood from Taksim to Galatasaray, including the British Embassy. Fanned by strong winds, the theatre’s ashes were scattered...
Posted in Architecture, Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music

Mélodies III: Fauré in Isfahan – the early works

By John Shakespeare Dyson | May 25, 2020


We now come to the last in our series of explorations of the works of composers of chansons – French art songs. The purpose of the series, which has so far covered Reynaldo Hahn and Achille-Claude Debussy, is to give people something to occupy them while in isolation. This instalment...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

An invitation to the Wigmore Hall to listen to Marianne Crebassa and Fazıl Say

By John Shakespeare Dyson | May 9, 2020


Every Monday evening the Wigmore Hall releases a video stream of one of its acclaimed recitals, marvellously recorded and (invisibly) filmed live in what the great counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky described at a recent performance as London's 'temple to music'. Each concert is streamed for 24 hours – from 7.30pm in...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Mélodies II: Debussy in Pamphylia – the later works

From Javanese gamelan music to the ‘Songs of Bilitis’ …

By John Shakespeare Dyson | April 29, 2020


This is Part B of the second phase of Mélodies: Debussy in Pamphylia, Fauré in Isfahan, Reynaldo Hahn in Istanbul, a serialised blog intended to keep people’s minds off their troubles while they are in isolation. This one continues an account of the chansons – art songs – of Achille-Claude...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Mélodies II: Debussy in Pamphylia – the early works

The second in a series of articles on the French chanson

By John Shakespeare Dyson | April 18, 2020


This is the second part of Mélodies, a serialised blog that is intended to keep people’s minds off their troubles while they are in isolation. Just like the first part (which was about Reynaldo Hahn), this one focusses on a composer who wrote mélodies – French art songs – in...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Mélodies I: Reynaldo Hahn in Istanbul

The first of a three-part series in which our music correspondent finds gentle escape in the French Chanson

By John Shakespeare Dyson | April 1, 2020


Mélodies: Debussy in Pamphylia, Fauré in Isfahan, Reynaldo Hahn in Istanbul. This new series of blogs is designed to provide a welcome distraction from for those in isolation, while at the same time introducing them to music that may be new to them and will give them pleasure. It is...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Imogen Cooper at the Seed

‘Creating the real out of the ideal’

By John Shakespeare Dyson | March 18, 2020


That the latest in the series of Istanbul Recitals was given is, in itself, remarkable considering… My companion and I boarded the boat that leaves Eminönü at ten past six and spent an hour watching the shores of the Bosphorus sweep by on a cloudy, overcast afternoon that was turning...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

Avrasya Orchestra and İdil Biret

By John Shakespeare Dyson | March 14, 2020

On Wednesday (March 11) I attended a concert given by the Avrasya Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Rengim Gökmen, at the Zorlu Performance Arts Center. This was part of a series entitled Vestel Gururla Yerli Konserleri, organised jointly by the Performance Arts Center and ‘BKM’, which I assume stands for ‘Beşiktaş...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Classical Music, - Musical Shares

In time… Gilad Atzmon and Sarp Maden – a creative partnership

By John Shakespeare Dyson | February 29, 2020

February 20: I made my second foray into the Touché jazz club, located in the bowels of the Zorlu Center in Zincirlikuyu. The occasion was that of another concert by Gilad Atzmon, the Israeli saxophonist I'd seen in January 2019 – when he was accompanied by Sarp Maden on guitar,...
Posted in Music & Performing Arts, - Jazz, - Musical Shares
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