Istanbul: East Meets West / Europeans and Ottomans Listen to Each Other, 1500-1800
January 25, 2013
“You can’t build a wall around music!” Six expert performers from Dünya, an adventurous early-music ensemble, transport us to the musical world of Istanbul in the 16th to 18th centuries, where currents from the East and West met and mingled. Unexpected encounters are portrayed, drawn from a wide array of materials: European travelers' accounts; the unique manuscript of a 17th-century Polish convert to Islam (a sultan's music director); popular, courtly, and religious music from East and West; and Ottoman music transcribed by Europeans. The performers sing and play an astonishing number of remarkable instruments, some lovingly recreated on the basis on miniature paintings from a lost world. They include the exotic Ottoman harp and the Turkish forerunner of the lute, as well as winds, voices, viola da gamba, and percussion. “Dünya” means "World" in several languages. Joint us for a glimpse of the colorful world of old Istanbul! Reception follows.