Kudsi Erguner

Gazel: Classical Sufi Music of the Ottoman Empire

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Turkish ney player Kudsi Erguner has made a career out of resurrecting Turkish traditional music, and here he uses his five-piece ensemble -- which also features his brother Suleyman Erguner on ney, Hasan Esen on kemence, Mehmet Emin Bitmez on ud, and Husnu Anil on kanun -- to back up three noted singers, Yusuf Bilgin, Fevzi Misir, and Aziz Bahriyeli, on musical settings for a series of poems by Ottoman figures dating back to the 16th century and up to the 20th. On each track, only one of the singers performs, and the musical treatments are semi-improvised in the form called "Taksim," which Erguner explains in the liner notes as only being allowed once a musician has mastered the required traditional musical forms, qualifying him to create variations consistent with existing styles. The singers bring considerable feeling to their interpretations, and the ensemble backs them effectively.

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