Embark on a musical tour of Turkey with pianist and composer Fazıl Say, as he explores his connection to the people, places and poetry that have shaped him.
For his forthcoming Barbican concert, Say will open his programme with Dört Şehir, as he takes us on an evocative expedition around four cities in Anatolia, drawing on his own memories to invoke the rich history and culture of each place.
The rolling waves and dramatic interjections of Yeni Hayat echo the pandemic in which it was written, paving the way for a journey through İlk Şarkılar and Yeni Şarkılar with vocalist Serenad Bağcan, supported by Jamal Aliyev (cello) and Aykut Köselerli (percussion).
These songs are a masterclass in musical storytelling, each one possessing a rare transportive power that sweeps us into the vivid imaginings of some of Turkey’s most beloved poets.
A pianist ‘full of energy and brilliance’ (Bachtrack), Say has been entrancing audiences for over 25 years. And with music as deeply personal as this, this concert will be no exception.
About Fazıl Say (extracts from his official biography)
With his extraordinary pianistic talents, Fazıl Say has been touching audiences and critics alike for more than twenty-five years, in a way that has become rare in the increasingly materialistic and elaborately organised classical music world.
Concerts with this artist are something different. They are more direct, more open, more exciting; in short, they go straight to the heart. Which is exactly what the composer Aribert Reimann thought in 1986 when, during a visit to Ankara, he had the opportunity, by chance, to appreciate the playing of this 16-year-old pianist. He immediately asked the American pianist David Levine, who was accompanying him on the trip, to come to the city’s conservatory, using the now much-quoted words: ‘You absolutely must hear him, this boy plays like a devil.’
Say’s recordings of works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin and Stravinsky with Teldec Classics as well as Mussorgsky, Beethoven and his own works with the label naïve have been highly praised by critics and won several prizes, including three ECHO Klassik Awards. In 2014, his recording of Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 3 (with hr- Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt / Gianandrea Noseda) and Beethoven’s sonatas op. 111 and op. 27/2 Moonlight was released, as well as the CD ‘Say plays Say’, featuring his compositions for piano. Since 2016 Fazıl Say is an exclusive Warner Classics artist. In the autumn of 2016, his recording of all of Mozart sonatas was released on that label, for which, in 2017, Fazıl Say received his fourth ECHO Klassik award. Together with Nicolas Altstaedt, he recorded the album “4 Cities” (2017).
In autumn 2017 Warner Classics released the Nocturnes Frédéric Chopins and the album “Secrets” with French songs, which he recorded together with Marianne Crebassa and which won the Gramophone Classical Music Award in 2018. His 2018 album is dedicated to Debussy and Satie, whilst with his most recent recording “Troy Sonata – Fazıl Say Plays Say” he presents only his own works.
In December 2016, Fazıl Say was awarded the International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights, Peace, Freedom, Poverty Reduction and Inclusion, in Bonn. In the autumn of 2017, he was awarded the Music Prize of the city of Duisburg.
Date: Thursday 27 March 2023
Venue: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
Tickets: £40 – £90 (excludes £3 booking fee). Click here to buy online from the venue.
More info: to learn more about Fazıl Say, visit his website, fazilsay.com
Main image, top, of Fazıl Say. Photo via Facebook / Fazıl Say