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Work of the Week – Fazıl Say: Grand Bazaar

On 25 Feburary 2016, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla will perform the world premiere of Fazıl Say’s Grand Bazaar under the direction of John Axelrod at Teatro de la Maestranza in Sevilla.

Formally resembling a symphonic poem, Say refers Grand Bazaar as a “rhapsody for orchestra”. The work is inspired by the major landmark in Istanbul, one of the world’s largest covered markets with thousands of shops and stalls stretching across 60 streets. The bustling atmosphere of trade inside the Grand Bazaar is brought to life in Say’s music.

Istanbul’s landmark translated into music

Grand Bazaar depicts a variety of scenes from within the Bazaar, with sections of the score titled “walking in the dark streets of the Grand Bazaar”, “carpet sale dispute” and “evening atmosphere”. Say combines his idea of Turkish colours and rhythms with modern compositional and instrumental techniques.

I myself was raised as more of an Occidental, influenced by my parents, the conservatory in Ankara, and my life in Germany and the USA. In this respect I am nearly a Westerner, but cultures are merging more and more, because people intermingle more and more. We should strengthen these bridges and develop a greater openness to other cultures. – Say

The Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla will also perform Say’s violin concerto 1001 Nights in the Harem alongside Grand Bazaar on 25 and 26 February.

Photo: Akça Doğan