Work of the Week - Fazil Say: Goethe-Lieder
On 23 June 2013, Fazil Say’s Goethe-Lieder for soprano and orchestra will be premiered by the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester and soloist Norma Nahoun at Liederhalle Stuttgart. The performance will be conducted by Michael Hofstetter.
Setting a selection of contrasting poems from Goethe’s West-Östlicher Divan, in which the author skilfully intertwines Western thought with oriental mysticism, Say creates a cycle of five songs plus finale. His recitatives are kept in an almost improvisational vocal style, accompanied by rhythmically static sections, while the arias express passion and drama through rhythmic variations and Middle-Eastern melodies, set in Say’s favoured time signature with nine beats to the bar. All the while, Say takes great care to keep the text comprehensible by writing vocal lines that consist mainly of syllabic steps and intervalic leaps, with extended melismatic sections written as vocalises.
As in previous works, the Turkish composer integrates the sounds of his home country and Turkish native instruments into the orchestral score. This lends his works an individual flavour that has made them very popular internationally, his compositions and concert programs continually contributing to an intercultural exchange in music:
I have played Beethoven and Mozart in Turkey – music, which is heard rarely there. And here I integrate music from Turkey into my compositions. You may call me an ambassador, or not: I’ll do it anyway. It’s in my nature, it happens all by itself. - Fazil Say
Not only will Fazil Say celebrate the world premiere of his Goethe-Lieder in Stuttgart, he will also perform as a concert pianist: Several works by Mozart are programmed alongside his, with Say playing the solo part of the piano concerto No. 21 in C major, KV 467.
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