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Tokkemon

İstanbul Kapriçyosu (Istanbul Capriccio)

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So I've been gone for, like, 5 years. I'm back with a new piece that I finished late last year. I've been working on it for a long while but finally got it finished and sent out to competitions, which I promptly lost. :D Keeping the losing streak alive! Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Program Notes

After taking a trip to Istanbul a few years ago I was greatly moved by the culture and people of the massive city and inspired to write this piece. It follows in a long line of “ethnic” capriccios such as Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol. It takes the famous elements of Islamic and Middle Eastern music such as maqam scales and unusual time signatures, and puts them in the Western framework of the orchestra. Much like the city itself, this piece bridges east and west.

The capriccio is divided into four sections, with fragments of the same theme being woven throughout:

  1. The Introduction, depicting the Azan, or call to prayer. It is often heard echoing throughout the city for miles as the various mosques intone the call.
  2.  Ottoman Empire influence is heard in the march depicting the goings-on around Tokapi Palace, the home of the Sultan. Janissary Bands and Ottoman military drills echo out a humorous and grandiose march.
  3. Next the more reverent side of the city is depicted with Byzantine Chants in the Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest and largest churches, then mosques, in the world. Scattered throughout is various Islamic intonations as if heard from the Blue Mosque a block away, considered one of the most impressive mosques in the world.
  4.  Finally, we go to the Bazaars and streets of Istanbul, where bands play a unique blend of Eastern European and Middle Eastern music. Asymmetrical time signatures and non-western scales come together for the final dance.

Score attached. Rendering on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tokkemon/istanbul-kapricyosu-istanbul-capriccio

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Holy Cow. Wow, this is very different then what I am used to coming from you Tokkemon. It is a very welcome difference for my tastes. I like it a lot. 

This would be incredible to hear performed with a full orchestra. I'd love it.

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Wow, @Tokkemon! Overall, I really dig the piece. It has a great sense of place and gives a sense of the history and grandeur of Istanbul. Also, the way you treated the Mozart quote near the end of your first section was very witty. Best use of a quote I've seen in a while. Very well done!

Two minor orchestration things I noticed on first listening:

1. The texture in the Molto Grandioso (m. 128) was so thick it was close to browning. It may be the recording, but I'd take a second look at your planes of sound just to be sure.

2. In m. 177, the low flutes will almost certainly be buried with the strings, horns, and trumpets going there.

 

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Fantastic piece! The last half especially impressed me. I have not had many opportunities to hear orchestral music with these kind of Middle Eastern influences, but I always find those particular rhythms and scales really compelling. I have to congratulate you on working in some great percussion parts, especially for the toms, since it is seemingly still not standard for them to get as much attention as melodic instruments in the orchestra.

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