Ahmed Adnan Saygun, born in 1907 in the ancient Turkish city of Izmir, was something between a colleague and a protégé of Bartók, assisting the Hungarian composer in the collection of Turkish folk music. His career veered rather uneasily between Turkey and the West, however, and some of his orchestral music is firmly in the neo-classic camp, using Turkish materials as flavoring. The short piano pieces on this disc are closer to Bartók in style, and indeed they offer a model for a nationalist music that is not Romantic in spirit. The sets of preludes and sketches on "Aksak" rhythms do not refer to a specific region; the word might be translated as "limping," and it indicates additive rhythms that alternate binary and ternary elements. All the music on the disc uses these rhythms, some of which Bartók guessed to be Bulgarian in origin, but the shorter pieces are the most rhythmically pungent. Modal and brisk without being really dissonant, they resemble the dance pieces in the last two books of Bartók's Mikrokosmos, but exceed even the most intricate of those in rhythmic complexity. Inci'nin Kitabi (Inci's Book, 1934) is childlike but not children's music; it resembles the Dolly suite of Fauré in its evocation of a child who was part of the composer's life. Turkish-American pianist Zeynep Ucbasaran, who has released several strong recordings of both Turkish and Western music, is entirely comfortable with this idiom and delivers vigorous, commanding performances. Recommended for anyone who likes Bartók's piano music.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Anadolu'dan (From Anatolia), Op. 25|
|Preludes (12) on Aksak Rhythms for piano, Op 45|
|Inci'nin Kitabi (Inci's Book), for piano, Op. 10|
|Sketches (10) on Aksak Rhythm, Op. 58|
|Sonatine for piano, Op 15|