Fazil Say ‘1001 Nights in the Harem’ info

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1001 Nights in the Harem, commissioned by the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, is a violin concerto written for Patricia Kopatchinskaja, with whom Fazil Say formed a duo in 2006. The title recalls the famous collection of fairytale “One Thousand and One Nights”, and just as Scheherazade is the tireless narrator in that work, so the solo violinist in Fazil Say’s concerto takes on the role of ‘principal storyteller’. The violin part is written in a highly virtuosic style and is used to hold the work together, since the solo instrument plays a cadenza between the movements, sometimes accompanied by a Turkish percussion instrument. Thus the four movements are linked to one another in intensely atmospheric unity. As a bonus, the disc includes three encores that Fazil Say performs at his concerts. These three pieces, Alla Turka Jazz, Patara Ballet, and Summertime Fantasy have become firm audience favourites.

The Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say was born in Ankara and studied piano and composition at the State Conservatory of his home city. At seventeen he was awarded a scholarship enabling him to work for five years with David Levine at the Robert Schumann Institute in Düsseldorf. Fazil Say’s discography includes Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the New York Philharmonic and Kurt Masur, a Bach recital, and Stravinsky’s four-hand arrangement of The Rite of Spring, in which Say plays both parts himself. This recording brought him several international awards, including the 2001 Echo Preis Klassik and the German Music Critics’ Best Recording of the Year. His first recording with Naïve was entirely devoted to his own music, while the second is of three Mozart concertos with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Howard Griffiths. A CD of Beethoven piano sonatas was released in 2005, and a selection of Haydn sonatas in 2007. His most recent release is a recital with Patricia Kopatchinskaja of music by Beethoven, Ravel, Bartók, and his own Violin Sonata. In 2008 Fazil Say was appointed ambassador for intercultural exchange by the European Union.

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