Inspired by the Ottomans:
Pedja Mužijević, piano

Share in the spell that Ottoman music cast on European composers, from Mozart’s famous “Rondo Alla Turca,” of the 1780s, to music written just after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Marco Tajcevic’s 1926 “Seven Balkan Dances”­—widely played as a virtuoso vehicle—reflects music from areas ruled by the Ottomans for five hundred years. The “Music of the Sayyids and the Dervishes,” from the mid-1920s, by mystic philosopher G. I. Gurdjieff and Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann, melds the improvisational style of Turkish taksim with the rhythms of Mevlevi devotion. This concert was presented in 2006 in conjunction with the exhibition Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey.

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From Moldavia to Istanbul: The Musical World of Dimitrie Cantemir

Travel to the Ottoman Empire through the music of composer, scholar, and diplomat Dimitrie Cantemir (16731723), a flamboyant and brilliant figure who served four Ottoman sultans and Russia’s Tsar Peter the Great. Cantemir’s treatise on Turkish classical music included more than three hundred fifty original compositions. After he led an ill-fated rebellion against the Ottomans in his native Moldavia, he escaped to Moscow where he organized lavish musical events with his daughter, a harpsichordist trained in the Italian style. Turkish instrumentalists Neva zgen and Murat Aydemir join the baroque music ensemble Lux Musica to recreate the sounds of Cantemir’s Moldavian homeland and his careers in Istanbul and Moscow. Recorded live in concert at the Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art, on June 11, 2009.

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Music for the Persian New Year: Mamak Khadem

Iranian-born vocalist Mamak Khadem, formerly of the Persian-fusion band Axiom of Choice, performs songs inspired by melodies from Armenia, Kurdistan, Baluchistan, and Turkey, as well as music from Iran. Her ensemble features Ole Mathisen, clarinet and saxophone; Jamshied Sharifi, keyboard; Hamid Saeidi, santur (hammered dulcimer); and Ben Wittman, percussion. This performance was recorded in concert at the Freer Gallery on March 7, 2009, as part of the Freer and Sackler’s celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

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Sufi Sounds from the Sultan’s Court:
The Nevâ Duo

Ethereal music from Sufi ritual and the Ottoman court is performed here by two outstanding specialists in Turkish music: Murat Aydemi on the tanbur (lute) and ney (flute) master Salih Bilgin. Composers in the court wrote music for both secular and religious purposes, including the Sufi rites of the Mevlevi order (known in the West as the whirling dervishes). The Nevâ Duo performs music from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Recorded live at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 2006 in conjunction with the exhibition Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from the Ottoman Empire.


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