Work of the Week - Fazil Say: Mesopotamia Symphony
The Istanbul Music Festival celebrates its 40th year this season with the theme "Hopes and Heroes" and to mark the occasion they have commissioned a new orchestral work from Turkish composer Fazil Say. Mesopotamia Symphony, Say’s second, will be premiered on 23 June 2012 in the Haliç Congress Centre in Istanbul by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra led by their conductor Gürer Aykal.
Mesopotamia Symphony follows the success of Say's first symphony, Istanbul Symphony, but sets itself apart from others of his works. Talking about the work the composer states:
I jumped over my own shadow with this symphony. I went against some of my usual routines by moving in the opposite direction. I was free when I was composing and not shackled by something. And I said to myself: Why should I choose the way I already know. Let's try a new way. (Fazil Say)
Mesopotamia Symphony evokes scenes from the land between South-east Anatolia and the Persian Gulf but Say goes far beyond the mere illustration of a landscape in the mould of a Romantic symphonic poem with his greater focus on cultural perceptions of the Near Eastern region through the application of constructive and deconstructive elements. Movements entitled "About the culture of death" and "Bullet" illustrate the longstanding conflict in the Middle East with a spark of hope for a solution.
This autumn Say's symphony cycle will continue with his third work "Universe", which will be premiered on 7 October at the Großes Festspielhaus in Salzburg.