Early Music in Turkey: İzmir Baroque



Baroque music isn’t something that comes to mind when I think of Turkey, much less period-instrument performance.

And while there has been a steady stream of European and American specialists giving concerts in Istanbul for years, homegrown musicians who focus on the repertoire are virtually unheard of.

Until now.

A feature in the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman gives an excellent introduction to İzmir Baroque (pictured below), a professional ensemble that explores chamber music of the period.

Not surprisingly, they take inspiration from their European counterparts.

“All these ensembles are very good, so it’s difficult to name just one,” says [founding member Bülent Oral]. “But for instance, there are very good ensembles like the London Baroque from England; I Musici from Italy; Hesperion XX from Spain; Musica Antiqua Köln from Germany; and very valuable musicians like Jordi Savall, Andrew Manze and Fabio Biondi. All these ensembles usually have diverse approaches to Baroque music, but our ensemble resembles the London Baroque in terms of its structure.”

Here’s the ensemble in a performance of Claudio Monteverdi‘s Ohime ch’io cado.

The members are Linet Şaul, soprano, Atilla Oral, recorders (tambour), Hakan Özaytekin, baroque violin (castanets), Bülent Oral, viola da gamba, and Tuğçe Özaytekin, harpsichord.


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