September 2003 Present Music Kevin Stalheim, conductor Milwaukee, WI
Bb cl. (alt. sax.), ten. sax., mandolin, bouzouki, ethnic alto, perc., synth., vln., vla., vlc.
Istathenople is commissioned by Angela and George Jacobi for Present Music. Jacobis’ wish from me for this work was to include in the instrumentation what their parents played: bouzouki, mandolin and clarinet. Having recently heard the voice of Israeli singer Hadass Pal-Yarden made me want to add her voice (no text, just open vowels) into the mix. Before starting on the work I listened to a lot of bouzouki and Greek music. Being half Turkish and writing more “Turkish” works lately made it unavoidable the addition of Turkish elements. Of course Greek and Turkish music are very close, having been neighbors for so long. They also share the same outside influences such as those from the Balkan’s and the Middle East. I added to the mix my affinity for Byzantium and Ottoman music as well. The work is a synthesis of all the above. Like some of my other works it is a journey of synthesized and some pure elements presented in my world. Traditional Greek dance, Aegean (both sides) dance (“Zeybek”), melismatic long air (“Hava”), and more chant-like sections are heard in my context. The raw qualities of folk and rock music are always inspirations for me and my usual spiritual descending lines, (with the addition of ascending ones) are heard in different ways in the work.