waltz sultans

“Waltzes with Sultans” in London

European music at the Ottoman Court is to resound at London’s Cadogan Hall with a themed concert setting to disclose hidden musical gems from the inner sanctuaries of the Seraglio. Introduced and conducted by the Turkish music historian Dr. Emre Aracı whom specialises in the European musical tradition in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, the concert, “Waltzes with Sultans”, will feature waltzes, polkas and marches composed by members of the Ottoman Imperial family, as well as their masters of music including the two famous Italian pashas, Giuseppe Donizetti and Callisto Guatelli.

The concert will take place on Friday, 27th November 2015 at 7.30pm at Cadogan Hall. Doors will open at 7.00pm.

In this highly original and unusual music event, music historian Dr. Emre Aracı joins the Chamber Ensemble of London, lead by Peter Fisher, to introduce and conduct his original string arrangements, selected from this lost world of musical ephemera, to create in the words of The Gramophone “an unexpectedly attractive collection”. In so doing, this unique event brings back the glories of a vanished and elegant past, which once flourished along the banks of the Bosphorus in the nineteenth century.

sultans opera houseThe Sultan`s Opera House at Dolmabahçe Palace in İstanbul (Watercolour by Ayşe Türemiş)Through Aracı’s orchestrations, royal compositions by members of the imperial family and Donizetti Pasha’s distinctive works have found a new lease of life and now take the audience to the unknown territory of forgotten compositions from the Ottoman Empire. While explaining the history of every individual work, Aracı also shows the levels of musical interchange that existed between East and West in an age which is now totally confined to the dusty shelves of archives.

The attaché of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office, Ali Selçuk Can said that; “With this historic event, we are hoping that the British public will discover the similarities of Turkish music and culture to that of Europe.”

The concert is co-organized by Yunus Emre Institute London and Turkish Culture & Information Office in London. As Talat Sait Halman once said; “Dr. Aracı mediates between Ottoman and European, Turkish and British, Eastern and Western”. In that sense his last name is symbolically significant as well: Aracı means mediator or intermediary.” said Mehmet Sen, the director of Yunus Emre Institute London.

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