Orient meets Occident
Since the Middle Ages, the expansionist policy of the Ottoman Empire had kept the Occident in suspense. In the 17th and 18th centuries, fascination for the foreign now triumphed over fear. The sultan's legations brought their way of life and culture to Europe, triggering a wave of enthusiasm for everything Turkish at the courts. Composers such as Lully and Fux began to write music in the Turkish style, inspired by the Janissary bands. Coffee, too, had advanced to become the indispensable elixir of life of the time, and it succeeded in doing what politics did not always manage to do: harmoniously unite the Orient and the Occident. Enjoying a cup of coffee together is like forty years of friendship, says a Turkish proverb, which the Pera Ensemble takes as an occasion to set off musically to places where coffee was once served: in the seraglio, pavilions and salons of fine society, with works by Lully, Porpora, Vivaldi, Handel, Ebu Bekir Aga, Kantemir and others.
"Abduction into the Seraglio - the Pera Ensemble enchants with West-Eastern sounds. I allow myself to be swayed sensibly between two worlds": this is how Goethe mused in the "West-Eastern Divan". According to this motto, the finesses of the Pera Ensemble's playful experiment can be heard at their best. Beautiful to sigh at, often flowing in mezzo piano, yes, that's how it might have sounded at one of those magnificent Ottoman courts". (Darmstädter Echo)
CD published by Berlin Classics
Pera Ensemble &Valer Barna Sabadus - Counter. Musical direction Mehmet C. Yesilcay