Sultanic Celebrations

By Şule Bilgin | December 7, 2011

Suzidilara Mevlevi Ayini, 
A Concert for the 738th Şeb-i Arus and the 250th Birthday of Sultan Selim III
Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall Harbiye,
İstanbul Soloist: Dilek Türkan; Ud: Samim Karaca; Kanun: Taner Sayacıoğlu
December 18, 2011, 11:30 a.m.



2011 sees the 250th anniversary of the birth of Selim III (1761-1808), a reformist Sultan, great romantic personality and one of the most ingenious composers in the history of Ottoman Classical Music. Selim III's contribution is regarded as a milestone in the cultural and musical history of the Turkish people and two concerts this winter are honoring that legacy. On November 29 Turk Musikisi Vakfı, in collaboration with Istanbul State Turkish Classical Music Choir, held a concert of works written by Sultan Selim III and other distinguished composers of his reign. The concert captivated the audience, who had the pleasure of hearing delightful melodies from the velvet voice of Münip Utandı, still one of the most significant soloists in Turkey. The instrumentalists were Taner Sayacıoğlu, Samim Karaca, Lütfiye Özer, Aziz Şenol and Birol Yayla of the Classical Turkish Instrument Quintet. In addition to the wonderful music, we also witnessed the delicate romanticism of Sultan Selim III in lyrics such as: “At first they called ‘rose’ to your sweet red lips that spread smiles around, but they were wrong (those who had taste) so they called it a goblet of lust." Selim III was also a member of the High Order of the Mevlevis and was affiliated with the great Mevlevi poet Şeyh Galib Dede of the Galata Dervish Lodge. Another concert will be held on the morning of Sunday December 18 - a double anniversary for the actual date of Selim III’s birthday (December 24) is approaching, and December 17 is the 738th anniversary of Şeb-i Arus – or the 'nuptial day,' as Mevlana Jellaladin Rumi's death is known. It is celebrated every year as Mevlana considered his death a reunion with his beloved, a wedding day, when he broke free from the mundane and was finally able to join the Divine. Many important Turkish musicians composed at least one piece of Mevlevi Ceremonial music (a highly developed form of Turkish Classical music that evolved around the Sufi whirling ceremony). As a devoted member of the Mevlevi dervish order Selim III was not an exception and the concert will present Suzidilara Mevlevi Ayini, a one hour long ayin composed by Selim III, for the whirling ceremony. Not to be missed!      

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