Selim Giray / June Chun

Turkish Music for Violin & Piano

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Turkey has produced several performers who were trained in Europe and went on to international renown, but this is one of very few album releases devoted to Turkish composers. Violinist Selim Giray is a professor at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. He has written on the composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun, whose career began in the 1930s, and the bulk of the disc is devoted to Saygun's music. Saygun worked with both the aging Vincent d'Indy (as a student) and Béla Bartók (as a collaborator in research), and the music recorded here effectively grafts Turkish tonal content onto rather traditional French textures and forms. The sonata and suite recorded here contrast complex fusions of this kind with movements in fast dance rhythms and slower pieces that perhaps display the melancholy so eloquently described by novelist Orhan Pamuk in his book on Istanbul. Both are engaging works, but the real find here is Saygun Inci's Book, a group of short pedagogical pieces for solo piano that owes much to Bartók's Mikrokosmos but has a different flavor; the works distill the relationship between Turkish and Western melody down to an extremely sparse set of gestures, and their interest is by no means restricted to the field of music for student performers. The rest of the music is more recent, but retains the nexus of French orientation and Turkish folk forms, rather than the tradition of Turkish classical music. Pianist June Chun-Young provides the right balance for this music, where the keyboard part is more than an accompaniment but not an equal partner with the violin. An enjoyable and often ingenious program of regional music, especially recommended to student pianists.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata for violin and piano, Op. 20
1 9:23
2 3:08
3 6:15
4 5:15
Suite, Op. 33
5 3:12
6 3:42
7 4:10
8 4:33
Inci's Book, Op. 10
9 0:57
10 0:39
11 3:21
12 0:56
13 0:40
14 1:07
15 1:18
16 0:59
17 1:18
18 3:02
19 1:24
20 0:53
21 5:13
22 2:37
blue highlight denotes track pick