THE WALTZ-ECSTASY AND MYSTICISM Sarband

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THE WALTZ
ECSTASY AND MYSTICISM

Ludwig van Beethoven
Demetrius Cantemir · Abdi Efendi
Dede Efendi · Joseph Lanner
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Johann Strauss, Sr.
Concerto Köln
Sarband
Int. Release 01 Jun. 2005
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ARCHIV Produktion
"A Western period instrument group jams with a Turkish band, setting off sparks and shedding delightful light on whole musical ages and cultures."New York Times, 2003


Track List

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Six German Dances, K.571

Concerto Köln, Sarband
Hamamîzâde Ismail Dede Efendi (1778 - 1846)
Three Semais

Arranged by Vladimir Ivanoff

Sarband, Concerto Köln

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Six German Dances, K.571

Concerto Köln

Hamamîzâde Ismail Dede Efendi (1778 - 1846)
Three Semais

Arranged by Vladimir Ivanoff

Sarband, Concerto Köln

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Six German Dances, K.571

Concerto Köln

Concerto Köln, Sarband
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Six German Dances, K.571

Concerto Köln, Sarband
Hamamîzâde Ismail Dede Efendi (1778 - 1846)
Three Semais

Arranged by Vladimir Ivanoff

Joseph Lanner (1801 - 1843)
Sarband, Concerto Köln

Abdi Efendi (1787 - 1851)
Sarband

Joseph Lanner (1801 - 1843)
Concerto Köln

Concerto Köln, Sarband
Demetrius Cantemir (1674 - 1723)
Three Semais

Arranged by Valdimir Ivanoff

Sarband

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
12 German Dances, WoO 8

18.
0:00
1:31

Concerto Köln

Demetrius Cantemir (1674 - 1723)
Three Semais

Arranged by Valdimir Ivanoff

Sarband

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
12 German Dances, WoO 8

20.
0:00
1:26

Concerto Köln

Demetrius Cantemir (1674 - 1723)
Three Semais

Arranged by Valdimir Ivanoff

Sarband

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
12 German Dances, WoO 8

22.
0:00
1:24

Sarband, Concerto Köln

Johann Strauss (1804 - 1849)
Concerto Köln

Concerto Köln, Sarband
Hamamîzâde Ismail Dede Efendi (1778 - 1846)
Sarband, Concerto Köln

Zeki Mehmed Aga (1776 - 1846)
Sarband

Traditional
Sarband, Concerto Köln

Concerto Köln, Sarband
Sarband

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
12 German Dances, WoO 8

29.
0:00
3:13

Concerto Köln

Total Playing Time 1:05:20

The idea that Western classical music exists in some exquisite cultural vacuum is again
put to the lie by this second collaboration between Germany's Concerto Köln and
Turkish ensemble Sarband. Blurring the line between the 3/4 time signatures of
European waltzes and the 3/4 time signatures of the mystical music of the Sufis, pieces
by Beethoven, Mozart and others are presented alongside traditional Turkish music.
However, the fusion doesn't end in the programming of the disc; both groups participate in all the performances in a truly collaborative approach. The result is a cross-cultural revelation that puts both musical forms into new perspective.

. . . their obvious sense of contentment and mutual respect is echoed in the performances (nearly 30 movements), in some of which the players join their opposite numbers, to bold and fascinating effect . . . The recording is admirable, with the timbres of the individual instruments as attractively caught as is the complete ensemble. I said of the previous CD, 'here is an exciting and unusual issue'; its successor would make a delightful present for the record collector who is thought to have everything.

Concerto Köln is a European chamber orchestra directed by Werner Ehrhardt; Sarband is a Turkish one, directed by Vladimir Ivanoff. In their second collaboration, dances in 3/4 time by Mozart, Beethoven, Johann Strauss, et al., are contrasted with music by Ottoman Turkish composers Abdi Efendi, Dede Efendi and Cantemir, who assimilated European waltz trends into their works. The performances are excellent, and the result is enlightening.

The two ensembles tackle everything with great charm and conviction. The crossover points between the two musical traditions are interesting but the differences are most instructive, particularly the contrast between the vigorous Viennese take on waltz rhythm and the more sinuous Turkish approach.

Das ist recht gewagt, funktioniert aber: Auf Dauer entwickelt die dezent produzierte CD einen beachtlichen Sog mit magischen Momenten wie im zweiminütigen "Dorduncu selâm" von Dede Efendi. Und die Grenzgänge zwischen weltlichen und spirituellen Elementen können für alle, deren Ohren gegenüber Neuerungen offen sind, eine Hörerfahrung der ganz besonderen Art werden.

Mehr Geschmack beweisen das Kammerorchester Concerto Köln und das Ensemble Sarband mit "The Waltz -- Ecstasy And Mysticism" . . . Hier wird stilsicher aus der Reihe getanzt. Tänze aus der Feder von Mozart, Beethoven oder Strauss wechseln sich ab mit osmanischer Kunstmusik. Westlich-klassisches und orientalisches Instrumentarium setzen jeweils behutsame Akzente, ohne an die Substanz der "fremden" Seite zu rühren. Ernst gemeint, ernsthaft gemacht.

Das Aufeinanderprallen und Ineinandergreifen zweier höchst unterschiedlicher Musiksprachen, das Mit- und Nebeneinander eines traditionellen Instrumentariums mit Rohrflöte, Fiedel, Trommel und Zither und der unseren Ohren vertrauteren westlichen Orchesterinstrumente fasziniert, zumal auf interpretatorischer Ebene keinerlei Wünsche offen bleiben. Ein in jeder Beziehung überraschendes Hörvergnügen!

Rêverie et tendresse, aussi.

La mezcla de sonoridades y ritmos, con el colorido propio de cada cultura, se funde en un álbum exquisito, que cautivará a todos aquellos que sueñen con oriente a la vez que esos otros que lleven el vals en la sangre. La artesanía sonora de Concerto Köln, se ve enriquecida por la genuina belleza de Sarband. Mágico.
Ecstasy and Mysticism in 3/4 Time

Waltzing from East to West and Back Again
Bringing together the music of two vastly different cultures in a single programme might seem questionable, but this latest collaboration between Concerto Köln and Sarband - The Waltz - Ecstasy and Mysticism - was a stroke of genius. Repertoire that we've heard a hundred times before is revealed in fresh colours. Waltzes by Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss sound positively exotic when placed alongside music by 18th-century Ottoman Turkish composer Dede Efendi and his contemporaries.

The last time the two groups worked together they produced an international best-seller - Dream of the Orient made it to the front page of The New York Times, and you can't say that of many classical CDs. The notion of musical influences travelling back and forth between Europe and the Ottoman Empire captured the public's imagination, and, once again, this juxtaposition of East and West is sure to fascinate and beguile its listeners.

"The idea for this project is a simple, musical one," says Sarband founder Vladimir Ivanoff. "All these pieces are in 3/4 time, but that metre has a different significance in each culture." Ivanoff, a medieval scholar, was intrigued by the fact that in medieval times rhythms based on a patterned succession of long and short values, like our 3/4 and 6/8, were a symbol of perfection - "of divine power and the harmony of the universe". The philosophical basis of 3/4 time was eventually forgotten in European music history, as dancing became more of a social, mating ritual. But, Ivanoff says, "in the Orient, the religious dimension is still there. In Sufism, mystical rituals are performed to music exactly in those metres." The most famous manifestation of this is the ritual of the "whirling dervishes".

"When Turkish composers became aware of the fashion for waltzes that was sweeping Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, they started to write in the waltz style, but for them it had other associations," says Ivanoff. So the works on this CD represent, on the one hand, a sort of Viennese waltz ecstasy, and, on the other, the mysticism and religious ecstasy that was part of the Ottoman culture."

Concerto Köln director Werner Ehrhardt saw the project as an opportunity to trace the development of the waltz in both cultures. "The interesting question for Concerto Köln was, where did the European waltz come from? Today when we talk about waltzes, everyone thinks of Strauss. But it all started with the ländler, a German dance in slow 3/4 time, which was played in country inns before it was heard in ballrooms. We felt it was very important to show how it changed over time, so we chose certain works by Mozart, Beethoven, Lanner and, finally, the elder Johann Strauss himself. And we tried to get a completely different colour in our playing between the earlier dances and Strauss."

Ehrhardt recalls that the selection of these works took considerable time and effort: "Vladimir Ivanoff would suggest pieces, I would get the music and we would play them through, discarding things that didn't work." Says Ivanoff, "I produced five alternative Mozart suites before we decided on this one."

The players saw the project as a continuation of the discoveries they had made when recording the Dream of the Orient CD. Ehrhardt says they found it revelatory to juxtapose the European and the Ottoman waltzes. "It made us all think much harder about our own dance music of the time. You can feel the atmosphere of the Turkish music creeping into the Mozart, for example."

Vladimir Ivanoff goes further: "To me, Mozart's German Dance no. 6 sounds like the soundtrack to an Oriental movie. In the beginning it's obviously Mozart, but then come the chromatic runs up and down - they are not Classical, they are definitely Oriental. But those are the notes Mozart wrote." He didn't, however, write a reprise in which Turkish instrument enter - that's just our little musical joke.

The waltzes by Dede Efendi, who was active at the court of Sultan Selim III in the late 18th century, were originally monophonic - just a singer and a few instruments. How has Vladimir Ivanoff managed to orchestrate them without sacrificing authenticity? "For a start I chose pieces in modes, or makkams, which are very similar to European keys. And I based my arrangements on the descriptions of 18th-century French, British or Italian orchestras by ambassadors to the Ottoman Empire." Ivanoff explains that there was a fashion for musical "battles" between European musicians and Ottoman orchestras, in which the sultan's musicians would show off their French repertoire, and the Europeans would retaliate with a brilliant display of Turkish music. "So I am basing it on the sorts of improvisations that probably happened at the time. It's not pure fantasy!"
Ivanoff is keeping his fingers crossed that this project will attract as much attention as Dream of the Orient, which he thinks was fuelled partly by political circumstances. "In the 18th century there was a fashion for 'alla turca' music at a time when the Ottoman Empire was the big enemy of Europe. Today, with all the problems in the Middle East, people are interested in finding out more about Islam, and the music and culture of the region, in an effort to understand these problems."

The Waltz - Ecstasy and Mysticism is the story of how two cultures collided 250 years ago and were inspired to create works of art for very different purposes. As Werner Ehrhardt puts it, "Dede Efendi's music was used in Sufi services, and it has a quality of divine ecstasy. In some sense, European waltzes became famous because they produced a state of ecstasy in the dancers. They whirled and twirled in the dance, just as the dervishes whirled and twirled in their worship."
Exotic or erotic? Mysterious or mesmerizing? Judge for yourself.

4/2005