Murat Aydemir - tanbur
Music of Ahenk Duo
Ahenk brilliantly documents the timelessness of Turkish art music while
highlighting two of its tradition's greatest living exponents - Derya
Türkan (kemençe), and Murat Aydemir (tanbur). Within the sonically
realistic space of a studio in Istanbul, the pair deliver a stunning performance
of classical Turkish genres both composed and improvised, including the
peshrev, taksim, and saz.
Derya and Murat are master musicians displaying fluid collective empathy,
sensitivity to rhythmic and melodic nuance, and natural instincts for
the beauty of instrumental timbre. Moreover, the performers induce a uniquely
sensorial, virtually embodied visceral affect which, while distinctive
to Turkish art music reception interestingly resembles the rasa experience
in Hindustani and Carnatic cultures of India (to where, not by coincidence,
key musical practices and theoretical concepts from West Asian classical
traditions, including those of the Turkish Empire, historically diffused
Derya and Murat’s instruments of specialization, the tanbur –
a plucked, long neck lute, and kemençe - a bowed, spike fiddle,
are chordophones (stringed instruments) having deep Turkish/Ottoman roots
with close relatives abundant throughout many regions of West Asia and
North Africa. Turkish classical, or court music traditions, are distinguished
from their Arabic and Persian neighbors by a unique resource of prescriptive,
compositional modes or templates known as makam. Makam marks the identity
of a piece. It organizes, stratifies, and regulates basic compositional
parameters such as pitch, scale, register, time, and by extension, meter
Yet importantly Makam also galvanize freer, idiosyncratic, often virtuostic
displays of musical improvisations in the form of taksim, which the duo
here utilize strikingly. It is the seamless balancing of such extemporized
taksim movements with the stricter compositional structures of peshrev
and saz that generate the overall flow and form of Ahenk.
Especially noteworthy is the musician's controlled, ensemble understatement
and judicious employment of musical silence. Accordingly, Derya and Murat
offer lean, melodic themes and careful doses of musical rest which attracts
welcome attention to instrumental sonority - that sublime quality of tone
color rendering this music so absorbingly lucid and sonically unique.
In sum, Ahenk is a generous addition to the catalog of Turkish classical
music. It is superbly recorded and represents a sterling degree of present
day musical artistry cultivated by centuries of aesthetic and cultural
tradition. Highly recommended.
New York City, November 2007
About Ahenk Duo
Classical Turkish Music, Traditional Turkish Music, Ottoman Music or whatever
else terminology is used, they all point to the phasing-by art of bygone
days: a specific and a vast art of a vast empire, namely Ottoman Empire.
In Turkey or elsewhere in the world, this music is regarded as an old
times art and performed merely by experts of it and its followers are
limited to knowledgeable people of that specific culture. The new cultural
era of our days, which is western culture and its everyday life aspects,
is taking over the traditional descendent. Not only the music changes
in Turkey, but the language changes also, the culinary customs change
also and so on...
The Classical Turkish Music has a unique modal system, based on unequal
intervals consisting an octave. This asymmetry of unequal intervals, once
perceived by the listener creates its own realm and takes one to its far
space of its own. However, it is not easy to comprehend and perform this
music because of its asymmetry, which indeed gives its special color.
Even in Turkey, these days there are not many musicians who would resist
to modern behavior and perform completely out of well tempered, symmetric
system and stick to the traditional one. Murat Aydemir and Derya Türkan
do it extremely well and moreover, they do it in a synergy.
These two masters of our times, they keep the masters' chain ongoing God
knows how many centuries. Unlikely their precedents, they have graduated
from conservatory, which can be regarded as a criteria of academic universality
and maturity, but on the other hand which does not exist as an institution
in the tradition. But these two genius musicians have combined the power
of the academic education and the treasure of the traditional one to one
teaching method (which Turks call “meshk”). But they also
added their soul and their rarely encountered talent.
Finally two albums they have recorded, Ahenk
Volume 1 and Ahenk Volume 2
are two of more eligible, extraordinary and traditional albums of modern
times in Classical Turkish Music.
Cengiz Onural, musician & composer