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"Invitation to the Seraglio - Period Dances, Marches, and Occasional Pieces"
W.P.R COPE (fl. 1800)
The Turkish Ambassador’s Grand March (1794) [2.00]
Sultan ABDÜLAZIZ (1830- 1876)
La Gondole barcarolle (1861) [4.31]
Invitation à la valse (1861) [2.35
Callisto GUATELLI (1819 - 1900)
Aziziye March (1861) [3.59]
Osmaniye March (1861) [3.37]
Marche de l’exposition Ottomane (1863) [3.30]
Herman Louis KOENIG (fl. 1850)
The City of the Sultan Polka (1855) [2.41]
SAIDE [wife of Ömer Pasha] (1834 - )
Silistre [Cinq Marches militaires pour piano (1854) #5] [1.35]
Tchitaté [ibid #3] [1.25]
William SMALLWOOD (1831 - 1897)
The Turkish War March* (1881) [3.55]
Charles Louis Napoleon D’ALBERT (1809 - 1886)
The Sultan’s Polka (1850) [2.38]
Constantinople Quadrille (1855) [5.48]
The War Galop (1855) [4.35]
Modest MUSORGSKY (1839 - 1881)
Near the Southern Shore of the Crimea (1880) [4.25]
Giuseppe DONIZETTI (1788 - 1846)
Medidiye March (1839) [3.01]
Gran marcia militare imperiale (1840) [3.22]
Luigi ARDITI (1822 - 1903)
Inno turco (1867) [7.04]
Henry William GOODBAN (1816 - ?)
The Omar Pacha Waltzes (1853) [6.13]
Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792 - 1868)
Marcia militare (Pas-redoublé) (1852) [3.55]
Rifat BEY (1820 - 1888)
Prière pour S.M. le Sultain Mourad (1876) [2.45]
Emre ARACI ( 1968 - )
The Turkish Ambassador’s Grand March, Op 5 (1998) [3.58]
Emre Araci, the London Academy of Ottoman Court Music, Cihat Askin, violin.
Arrangements by Emre Araci.
Notes in English, Français, Deutsch, Turkish. Colour photographs of rulers.
Recorded at The Warehouse, London, UK, 21 January 2000.
WARNER 2564 61472-2 [77.38]


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From the title naturally I was expecting something ethnic, but what we hear here is European salon music that just happened to be written for and performed at the Ottoman Court. The pieces are all agreeable, at times delightful, most often danceable. Just occasionally there is a slightly exotic turn of harmony or phrase, but no more than one might hear in any European salon music concert, certainly nothing so exotic as Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio Overture. The "London Academy of Ottoman Court Music" is a virtuoso string ensemble, and they play with panache, wit, graciousness, lilt, and charm. The very newness of the music is its greatest attraction; the form and style are familiar, but the pieces are totally new. None of the tunes will stick in your mind, so you won’t find yourself annoyingly humming them, unable to get them out of your head.

While all of this music is pleasant, none of it is worth seeking out on its own, not even the Musorgsky or Rossini. There is nothing particularly feminine about the two pieces by the Sultan’s wife. The violin solos are embedded in the texture of the ensemble, we do not have extended virtuoso cadenzas. You should play this music quietly at your next very conservative salon party. At some point when the conversation is in danger of waning, have a friend programmed to ask, "I say, Sir Rodney, what IS this delightful music we’ve been listening to?" at which point you give a secret smile, pull out the disk cover and read the title, whereupon another friend is programmed to say, "Oh, REALLY! Why, I’d never have guessed," and ask to see the jewelcase, and, there you go, the conversation picks up again. If this sort of opportunity is never likely to occur in your life, you could just put it on to play at dinner after a difficult day, and relax. One thing is sure, you won’t hear music like this over the radio or even in the background at your bank. It is a sure tonic after a busy day on the telephone listening to heavy rock on-hold. In fact it would make a vast improvement over the typical music-on-hold and I hope the canned music people are listening.

As punishment you could make your teen-aged son or daughter listen to it through twice.

As you can guess, I am, of course, enraged at the omission from the program of the "March for the Sultan of Zanzibar" by Sir Donald Francis Tovey, but then I guess since Zanzibar isn’t in Turkey the music doesn’t qualify.

*The cover of this publication is reproduced in the booklet in colour.

Paul Shoemaker

 



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