Author Topic: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991  (Read 18515 times)

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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #60 on: July 07, 2021, 12:21:53 PM »
To the bolded text, this is what had happened for me as well, but it does look like things are on the upswing for Saygun and myself. I finished his Symphony No. 3 not too long ago and what can I say: color me impressed! I think it’s just going to take more time to fully understand his musical language of course, but for some strange reason I kind of equate him as the ‘Turkish Holmboe’, but only early Holmboe, not late period.

Your progression on Saygun is going rather well, John. Good to know. What you say it's true, his works need several listens to show their secrets, and the experience is certainly rewarding. Your Holmboe comparison is apt, albeit I also detect a Bartók connection too.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #61 on: July 07, 2021, 12:30:00 PM »
Your progression on Saygun is going rather well, John. Good to know. What you say it's true, his works need several listens to show their secrets, and the experience is certainly rewarding. Your Holmboe comparison is apt, albeit I also detect a Bartók connection too.

The reason I’m hesitant to connect him musically with Bartók is because I feel that Bartók is much more astringent in his writing than Saygun, but also the folk influence, as I mentioned, is more immediately heard. I was reminded of Bartók a little in the brass writing, but that’s about it. I will say that Saygun’s folk influence is more apparent than I initially thought as well, but it’s so finely embedded into music that you have to pay extremely close attention --- it’s quite subdued.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 12:33:07 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Brian

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #62 on: July 08, 2021, 06:38:49 AM »
I hear Turkish sounding music in the Suite that's coupled with the Fourth Symphony...at least a general middle eastern flavor to the music.
Oh wow, definitely! Listening now - the Suite is definitely the folksiest and most "Turkish" Saygun I have heard yet. Also probably the most audience-friendly if you were programming a concert.

One of the things that does bug me about Saygun is exactly what you wrote in the music is in almost a constant state of huffing and puffing without any joy being brought into the music. Also, like you, I had expected more of a Turkish folk sound from him or to have permeated some of his music.
Huffing and puffing, hah, good phrase for it. I don't think composers need to reflect their national origins, it would be kind of mean to require Saygun to always sound Turkish if he didn't want to. But it was surprising that his symphonic voice was so strongly European. Of course, that is a big part of educated Turkish people's identity crisis. It's a stressful country to live in with a lot of military coups and violence in its past, so maybe that is where his huffing and puffing comes from. And it is also stuck between Europe and Asia. Among the educated/liberal class, there is definitely a performative effort to act and behave European rather than traditionalist. My aunt is always trying to pretend to be Parisian. When I visited in 2011, I asked to go eat some traditional kebabs and instead she took me to an American-style steakhouse, a pizza place, and a burger place.  ;D

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #63 on: July 08, 2021, 06:49:56 AM »
Huffing and puffing, hah, good phrase for it. I don't think composers need to reflect their national origins, it would be kind of mean to require Saygun to always sound Turkish if he didn't want to. But it was surprising that his symphonic voice was so strongly European. Of course, that is a big part of educated Turkish people's identity crisis. It's a stressful country to live in with a lot of military coups and violence in its past, so maybe that is where his huffing and puffing comes from. And it is also stuck between Europe and Asia. Among the educated/liberal class, there is definitely a performative effort to act and behave European rather than traditionalist. My aunt is always trying to pretend to be Parisian. When I visited in 2011, I asked to go eat some traditional kebabs and instead she took me to an American-style steakhouse, a pizza place, and a burger place.  ;D

Yes, what you write is true that a composer from Turkey, Brazil (errr...Brasil as they call it), Slovakia, etc. doesn’t have to reflect their homeland’s native music within their own their own music, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. ;) As I wrote earlier in this thread, now that I have listened to his 3rd symphony, I do actually hear a bit of folk influence in the music. It’s not as prominent or upfront in the writing, but it is there underneath the exterior. Also, there are certain rhythms that, again, are subdued, but caught my ear and struck me as folk-influenced. That’s an interesting anecdote about your aunt and about Turkish culture in general.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #64 on: July 08, 2021, 07:05:39 AM »
Fourth Symphony is now my favorite example of his huffing and puffing mood. Kind of has shades of Prokofiev and Lutoslawski's very early/young style in addition to the voice that he's been cultivating all along. Plus, it's only 24 minutes and has plenty of xylophone.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #65 on: July 08, 2021, 07:33:11 AM »
Fourth Symphony is now my favorite example of his huffing and puffing mood. Kind of has shades of Prokofiev and Lutoslawski's very early/young style in addition to the voice that he's been cultivating all along. Plus, it's only 24 minutes and has plenty of xylophone.

The Fourth is my favorite too.  I appreciate the brevity (not that his other symphonies outstayed their welcome).

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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #66 on: July 08, 2021, 01:51:06 PM »
Interesting isn't it about composers' music having to sound right for where they come from. When listening to Latvian composers I often think their music sounds very English, but then I have no idea what Latvian music 'should' sound like!

I just love Saygun's music, it's one of those oeuvres where every piece just sounds great. I thinking the most Turkish sounding music amongst his works are the soloists' lines in the Cello and Viola Concertos.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #67 on: July 08, 2021, 06:02:45 PM »
Fourth Symphony is now my favorite example of his huffing and puffing mood. Kind of has shades of Prokofiev and Lutoslawski's very early/young style in addition to the voice that he's been cultivating all along. Plus, it's only 24 minutes and has plenty of xylophone.

Looking forward to giving this symphony a whirl. Thanks, Brian. 8)
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #68 on: July 29, 2021, 11:58:40 AM »
These four quartets are absolutely amazing. I'm quite surprised by how consistently accomplished Saygun was, and these quartets are a solid proof of it. The most interesting thing about them is their evolution, each quartet is more adventurous than the previous one. The harmonig language, the piquant gestures, the way he stamps the Turkish flavour in them... they're just extraordinary. My personal favorites are 1 and 3. I can't recommend them enough. Superlative music.

Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #69 on: August 01, 2021, 05:30:51 AM »
From WAYLT thread.
Saygun: Symphony No.4
A fine work reminding me, at times, of Shostakovich, Khrennikov (2nd Symphony) and Roussell:
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ahmed Adnan Saygun 1907-1991
« Reply #70 on: August 02, 2021, 07:43:18 AM »
Saygun's 4th Symphony reminds me even more of Schulhoff's 5th Symphony - two great works.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).