Foto: Atilla Aldemir, der 2011 mit dem Donizetti-Preis als „Bester Interpret der Türkei“ ausgezeichnet wurde © Marco Borggreve
Istanbul, Wien, Berlin und nun Leipzig. Das sind nur einige der Stationen des vielseitigen Musikers Atilla Aldemir, der sowohl das Spiel auf der Geige als auch auf der Bratsche beherrscht. Die Geige allerdings, die stellt der gebürtige Türke in letzter Zeit immer öfters ins Eck. Seit 2017 ist Aldemir Solo-Bratschist beim MDR-Sinfonieorchester. Als Solist hat er Ende des letzten Jahres auch Bachs Sonaten und Partiten (BWV 1001 – 1006) eingespielt. Natürlich als Arrangement auf der Bratsche – und nicht wie üblich auf der Geige. Damit geht Atilla Aldemir neue Wege. Weshalb, das erzählt er im Gespräch mit Klassik-begeistert.
von Jürgen Pathy
Klassik-begeistert: Herr Aldemir, Sie haben Ende des letzten Jahres die Sonaten und Partiten BWV 1001 – 1006 von Johann Sebastian Bach eingespielt. Jedoch nicht auf der Geige, sondern als Arrangement auf der Bratsche (Viola). Weshalb?
Atilla Aldemir: Seit ich die klanglichen Möglichkeiten der Viola für mich entdeckt habe, erscheint mir eine Übertragung dieses Bach'schen Violinwerks besonders faszinierend. Außerdem kann ich mit dem tieferen Instrument die kontrapunktischen Elemente in besonderem Maße erlebbar machen.
Johann Sebastian Bach liebte die Bratsche. Sein ältester Sohn, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach berichtet, dass Bach als der größte Kenner und Beurteiler der Harmonie im Orchester am liebsten die Bratsche spielte. Laut seines Nachlass-Verzeichnisses besaß er am Ende seines Lebens u.a. drei Bratschen.
Klassik-begeistert: Seit wann beschäftigen Sie sich bereits mit diesen Werken?
Atilla Aldemir: Als Geiger habe ich mich schon seit meiner Jugend mit dieser wunderbaren Musik viel befasst. Bachs Sei Solo gehören nämlich zweifellos zu den wertvollsten und erhabensten Schöpfungen der Musikgeschichte. Die Beschäftigung mit dem Zyklus ist per se aufwändig. Dies hängt mit dem musikalischen Gehalt und dem quantitativen Umfang des Notenmaterials zusammen, die jeden Geiger bei der Interpretation der Sonaten und Partiten vor besondere Herausforderungen stellen.
Klassik-begeistert: Die Aufnahmen entstanden nicht irgendwo, sondern in der St. Agnus Kirche von Köthen. Weshalb haben Sie diesen Ort gewählt?
Atilla Aldemir: Seit ich in Deutschland lebe, und besonders seitdem mich meine musikalische Tätigkeit nach Leipzig geführt hat, ist die Anwesenheit des Bach'schen Geistes und seiner Musik unmittelbar spürbar – ich atme quasi seine Luft. Dass ich die Gelegenheit hatte, in der Köthener St. Agnus Kirche die Aufnahme zu realisieren, hat mich mit großem Glück erfüllt und war für mich ein besonderer Ansporn. Denn hier sind diese Werke entstanden. 1720, also vor ziemlich genau 300 Jahren, hat Bach hier die Reinschrift der Sonaten und Partiten für Violine solo angefertigt. Damals war Bach als Kapellmeister in Köthen tätig.
Klassik-begeistert: Dann muss diese Kirche für jeden Musiker, der diese Werke spielt, ein unglaublicher Ort sein. Wie haben Sie sich gefühlt als Sie diese Kirche betreten haben?
Als ich das erste Mal die Kirche betreten habe, habe ich beim Gedanken Gänsehaut bekommen, dass Bach jeden Sonntag hier im Gottesdienst mitgesungen und seine Füße auf dieselben Steine gesetzt hat. Ich habe es als unglaubliches Privileg empfunden, seinen Namenszug von eigener Hand im Kirchenregister sehen zu können.
Klassik-begeistert: Gibt es eine Partita oder Sonate, die Sie besonders mögen? Oder einen Satz, eine bestimmte Stelle? Wenn ja, weshalb?
Atilla Aldemir: Die Allemande aus der h-moll Partita BWV 1002 sowie das Andante aus der Sonate No. 2 in a-moll BWV 1003 liebe ich besonders. Bei beiden Sätzen spüre ich beim Spielen Hoffnung und die Vergänglichkeit.
Klassik-begeistert: Die Aufnahmen entstanden auf einer Bratsche von Pellegrino de Micheli (1560). Üblicherweise spielen Sie auf einem neueren Instrument. Weshalb haben Sie für diese Aufnahme dieses spezielle Instrument gewählt?
Atilla Aldemir: Bei der Wahl hatte ich keine Zweifel. Die Viola Pellegrino de Micheli aus dem Jahre 1560 hat wunderbare Klangeigenschaften, denen ich bedingungslos vertraute. Außerdem inspirierte mich die Vorstellung sehr, dass das Instrument zu Bachs Lebzeiten bereits existierte, und er es theoretisch auch hätte hören können.
Die Wahl des Bogens habe ich mir nicht leicht gemacht. Sowohl mit modernen als auch mit barocken Bögen habe ich experimentiert. Letztendlich habe ich mich für den Barockbogen entschieden, der mit seiner Leichtigkeit meiner Vorstellung des lebendigen und virtuosen Barockstils am ehesten entsprach.
Klassik-begeistert: Abgesehen von der technischen Komponente, worin liegt die Raffinesse oder die Kunst Bach „gut“ zu spielen?
Atilla Aldemir: Die Kunst liegt darin, die vertikalen und horizontalen Strukturen der Musik gleichermaßen zum Klingen zu bringen.
Klassik-begeistert: Sie spielen sowohl Geige als auch Bratsche. Wie schwer ist es, zwischen diesen beiden Instrumenten zu wechseln?
Atilla Aldemir: Die Aufstellung der linken Hand ist für die Bratsche eine andere als für die Geige. Wenn ich ein Stück auf einem Instrument einstudiert habe, kann ich es nicht automatisch auf dem anderen Instrument spielen.
Klassik-begeistert: Weshalb haben Sie sich letztendlich für die Bratsche entschieden?
Atilla Aldemir: Die Bratsche ist für mich das Instrument, das entspannender wirkt. Sie gibt der Bach'schen Musik mehr Raum.
Klassik-begeistert: Können Sie für Laien verständlich erklären: Worin liegt der Unterschied zwischen einer Geige und einer Bratsche?
Atilla Aldemir: Die Bratsche ist größer und um eine Quinte tiefer gestimmt als die Geige.
Klassik-begeistert: Sie sind als Solist tätig, spielen aber auch im MDR-Sinfonieorchester. Worin liegt der Reiz in einem Orchester zu spielen? Worin wiederum als Solist?
Atilla Aldemir: Das Orchesterrepertoire ist riesig. Dagegen sind die Solokonzerte mit Orchesterbegleitung begrenzt. Was eine Mahler-Sinfonie in mir an Emotionen auslöst, kann ich in Worten nicht beschreiben. Ich fühle mich dort als Teil des gesamten Organismus. Wiederum, wenn ich als Solist mit dem Orchester auftrete oder überhaupt ein Solostück spiele, zeichne ich sozusagen mit jeder Note meine eigene Signatur.
Klassik-begeistert: Lassen Sie uns Corona kurz ansprechen. Wie sehen Sie die aktuelle Situation? Hat sie nur Nachteile oder kann man ihr vielleicht etwas Positives abgewinnen?
Atilla Aldemir: Durch Corona haben wir gelernt, dass wir alle miteinander verbunden, voneinander abhängig und füreinander verantwortlich sind. Es ist eine Prüfung für uns alle.
Klassik-begeistert: Angenommen es erscheint eine gute Fee. Diese erfüllt Ihnen drei Wünsche. Welche wären das?
Atilla Aldemir: An dieser Stelle möchte ich keine Klischees bedienen. Aber was ich mir wünschen würde, wäre insgesamt ein besserer Umgang mit mehr Respekt und Liebe füreinander.
Klassik-begeistert: Herr Aldemir, herzlichen Dank für das Gespräch.
Jürgen Pathy (klassikpunk.de), 10. Januar 2021, für klassik-begeistert.de und klassik-begeistert.at
J.S. Bach: Sonatas & Partitas, BWV1001-1006
Atilla Aldemir, viola
"Superbly recorded, the deep tone of the viola gives the Sonatas and Partitas added expressive dimensions... these are performances full of eloquence and poetry." -MusicWeb International
Atilla Aldemir, although equally at home on the violin, chose for his recording of the Sei Soli BWV 1001-1006 in the St. Agnus Church in Köthen the viola as his instrument - and he could well be right historically, although the technical difficulties are increased due to the much larger scale lengths than those of the violin. Johann Sebastian Bach loved the viola: that much is clear! His eldest son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, reports that Bach as the greatest expert & judge of harmony in the orchestra preferred to play the viola. At the end of his life, according to a posthumous inventory, he had in his possession, among other instruments, three violas and a Bassetgen. In all likelihood, Bach himself played this instrument. Further proof of Bach's love for the viola, however, is moreover to be found in another "Köthen" case: the Brandenburg Concertos, which only received their name long after Bach's death. They ought to be called the Köthen Concertos because they were written and first performed there.
The viola plays an exceptional role in three of these concertos, for which the history of music provides no other examples up to this time. In the St. Agnus Church, near the castle, Bach went to church with his wife and children to receive communion. And though the church bears a different look today due to 19th century renovations, this situation is still discernible in a touching way. The congregation continues to use the communion tableware which Carlota Anna Elisabaht von Wietersheim donated for the inauguration of the church in 1699 and which Johann Sebastian Bach and his wife also used.
People used to regard the viola as second-rate when compared to the violin with its pantheon of superstar virtuosos, but once you accept the character of the viola as a unique instrument in its own right then such prejudices fall away. The remarkable Ciaconna that concludes BWV 1004 has sounded more dramatic and theatrical than in this recording, but such extrovert frills are less in the nature of the viola. Atilla Aldemar takes all of the technical demands of these works in his stride, and at 14:26 for this particular movement might even have taken more time over his transitions at some points. The delight here is in a kind of expressive intimacy, drawing the listener in to hear Bach's intricate musical narrative rather than blowing our socks off with virtuoso fireworks - which of course are all present, but which are delivered with considered weight rather than dashing plumage.
Philosophical ideas of romanticism, paired with the first recording of Necil Kazim Akses 'Capriccio' for viola solo.
The Society for the Promotion of Westfälische Kulturarbeit eV (gwk), based in Münster, has set itself the goal of helping young aspiring professional musicians entering professional careers and - after winning prizes in their own competition - to the best of them with CD productions reward. Everyone knows how important such a (first) publication can be nowadays in order to assess one's market value as an artist. Large competitions therefore often produce CDs with the prize winners. In this case it hits a musician who has probably already found his position in life: Attila Aldemir (* Istanbul 1975) has been principal violist of the MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra Leipzig since April 2017. Together with the outstanding pianist Itamar Golan (piano) he has recorded three major works of chamber music literature for viola and piano on a double CD on the gwk-records.com label: the sonatas op. 120,1 by Johannes Brahms, the sonata for Violin and piano in A major (version for viola) by César Franck and the last completed sonata, that is for viola and piano op.147, by Dmitri Shostakovich. And the result can be heard. Three lesser-known works for solo viola have also been recorded: Henri Vieuxtemps' Capriccio 'Hommage à Paganini', Nicil Kazim Akses (1908-1999) also a 'Capriccio' and 'Troja'. The last two composers, like Atilla Aldemir, come from Turkey.
Brahms' viola sonatas are the touchstone of every violist: The first sonata in F minor, Op. 120.1, heard here, is played by the artists with a seldom experienced elegance. Itamar Golan's approach to the accompanying piano is also fabulous and extremely dynamic. He has been known for this for decades, but the Israeli has always been able to keep his performance consistently at the highest level, although he is already 50. It is a pleasure to listen to the two of them making music and to expose yourself to the warm currents of Brahms' melody lines. The 'Andante' reflects the sad seriousness of the composer, which is immanent in almost all of his works, and it is extremely exemplary. Aldemir gently strokes the strings here too. It is noteworthy that thanks to his mentor Matthias Maurer (University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz) he plays one of the oldest, playable violas in the world: a Pellegrino Zanetti from Brescia from 1560! Her sound is golden, she forgives almost everything and always sounds.
Passion and emphasis
The adaptation of the sonata for violin and piano by César Franck in the version for viola and piano also seems to be absolutely successful on this recording. Aldemir plays a version in the original key with occasional lower octaves, but these are hardly noticeable and are very cleverly made. The sonata does not lose any of its effect, on the contrary - the sonorous viola sound of the middle register creates a particularly longing, lush melos. There are cellists who like to play this sonata, but it really sounds best on the viola. The two musicians lift the opening movement 'Allegretto ben Moderato' with its almost organ-like piano setting with passion and emphasis. This creates an almost philosophical structure of ideas. The subsequent 'Allegro' is not always designed consistently in the Rubati, but that is also a matter of taste. At this point, the very clearly structured, modern 'Booklet Editing' by Susanne Schulte (gwk) should be praised. As the managing director of the lively association, she holds the strings in her hand anyway and - with strong partners - has been leading several series of young talents in the cultural region of Westphalia with great success from Münster for years.
The second CD begins with the famous Sonata for Viola and Piano Op. 147 by Dmitri Shostakovich, which he finished on July 5, 1975, around a month before his death: it was his last work. The extended first movement 'Moderato' contains extremely bizarre moments, almost as it were with a modified quote (beginning of Alban Berg's Violin Concerto) - just like Berg - very lyrically into the composition. Quotes from his (Shostakovich's) 14th symphony are also hidden in the sonata, as well as a melody that he wrote down as a 9-year-old as the theme of the last movement: Shostakovich biographer Krzysztof Meyer interprets this as an attempt, as it were, as if with a bracket whole creative career together '. The sonata is formally in three movements, but with the sequence of movements slowly - quickly - slowly, it turns the traditional principle of fast - slow - fast on its head.
Atilla Aldemir and Itamar Golan know how to elicit a secret from this remote musical language: Shostakovich's last lonely, death-saturated thoughts are reflected in sounds here. The violist plays the cadenza of the last movement particularly movingly. One would like to hope that one can experience him live with it again soon. The composer's health was already extremely poor when he was working on the viola sonata, reports Meyer. Only a heroic act of willpower left him working on the finale - within two days! - complete. The result is an adagio full of tears, which also deals with Beethoven's famous moonlight sonatas. In this way, the two artists also indirectly pay homage to Beethoven on his 250th birthday. This sonata is incredibly rich and, in terms of interpretation, absolutely successful.
Three capricci - two of them by contemporary Turkish composers - follow, with which Aldemir pays tribute to his Turkish origins. In this country, Necil Kazim Akses (1908-1999) and Halit Turgay (* 1967, flautist and composer, professor at Ankara Music and Fine Arts University) are absolutely blank pages, but Akses, who studied in Europe, was Paul Hindemith's employee Establishment of the Ankara Conservatory and then temporarily its director. Turgay, on the other hand, is a very active soloist and organizer of competitions, master classes and world premieres of his own compositions.
Akses belongs to the group of the 'Turkish Five', who were the first Turkish masters to combine the musical tradition of their homeland with Western European composition technology. His Capriccio for viola solo (1978), here in its first recording, after a wildly sweeping beginning, initially vibrates lyrically in wide circles and gives the soloist ample space. Then the tightly written text cumulates in a cadenza with virtuoso strands. The soloist intones the double stops cleanly and well. Some passages invite you to dream and are also dynamically reduced. Unmistakably interspersed with one-and-a-half steps, the tonality is located in the oriental. It is already a late work by the 70-year-old in which Aldemir puts all his passion.
'Troja' by Halit Turgay (* 1967), on the other hand, is an even more avant-garde opus from 2018. It starts out extremely fragile, restrained, and in the slow introduction uses effects such as Sul-Tasto-Spiel, i.e. the stroke on the fingerboard. A lot of tension is built up before the actual work begins with rebellious motor skills. It almost gives the impression of improvised jazz, but everything is very finely chiseled and never brutal. A pizzicato melody that develops dynamically brings new material before sustained double stops dominate. Suddenly something new sets in again: tremolo and Bartók pizzicato, in which the string hits the fingerboard, shake the scene, but it comes even more violently, a loud noise cannot be identified. You couldn't compose more varied. This record is a plea for Halit Turgay.
Henri Vieuxtemps' 'Capriccio' 'Hommage à Paganini' for viola solo op.9 (published posthumously in 1882) then feels like raspberry ice cream with vanilla sauce. Feeling deeply, Aldemir explores the sounds of 19th century Romanticism and by no means buries himself in pure virtuosity. His viola by Alexandre Breton (2017), which is used here, is fantastic. Their sound is indeed rich in nuances and goes 'like a racing car', as Aldemir jokes in the booklet.
Sound quality: *****
Repertoire value: *****
Atilla Aldemir, although equally at home on the violin, chose for his recording of the Sei Soli BWV 1001-1006 in the St. Agnus Church in Köthen the viola as his instrument and he could well be right historically, although the technical difficulties are increased due to the much larger scale lengths than those of the violin.
Johann Sebastian Bach loved the viola: that much is clear! His eldest son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, reports that Bach as the greatest expert & judge of harmony in the orchestra preferred to play the viola. At the end of his life, according to a posthumous inventory, he had in his possession, among other instruments, three violas and a Bassetgen. In all likelihood, Bach himself played this instrument. Further proof of Bach's love for the viola, however, is moreover to be found in another Köthen case: the Brandenburg Concertos, which only received their name long after Bach's death. They ought to be called the Köthen Concertos because they were written and first performed there. The viola plays an exceptional role in three of these concertos, for which the history of music provides no other examples up to this time.
On many occasions, I've maintained that there is so much more talent around than the handful 'names' made famous through commercial channels. Atilla Aldemir is such a hitherto not widely enough recognized talent. This double release is no less than a revelation. Not only because the violin sonatas and partitas are played on the alto, and not only because they are played on an instrument that -interesting detail - already existed in Bach's time, but also, and pre-eminently so, because of Aldemir's stunning playing.
People familiar with his previous recording, entitled 'Passion', released on the German label GWK Records (Alto sonatas by Brahms, Franck, Shostakovich, etc.) will not be surprised. He is, indeed, a master on the viola in every meaning of the word: Technically, with perfect intonation, and passionately, with an unbelievably accurate sense of hitting the right mood at the right moment. Ideal for Brahms. Bach demands different qualities. And, yes, he got them too, as he amply demonstrates with this new recording!
Comparing with Midori Bach: 6 Sonatas & Partitas - Midori# whom I had the pleasure to review some time ago, the are some similarities like transmitting the composer's intentions as honestly as possible, with well-judged tempi, commensurate with historical practices, at the same time noting that there are clearly discernible differences as well. Apart from the viola's warmer timbre, Aldemir's reading has a more singing, call it romantic if you like, character. Together with none or a very light vibrato, remaining well within traditional baroque limits, the spiritual vibes go right to your heart. His playing is addictive, someone said, and I believe it is indeed.
What I most appreciate though, is that his reading is not about displaying a technical tour de force, the pitfall of so many young artists trying to impress. It is first and foremost about serving the music and through it the listener. Furthermore, played on the viola, the familiar solo sonatas and partitas shine in a differently coloured, almost autumnal light. Or, as Aldemir says: “The lower-pitched instrument gives me the possibility of foregrounding the contrapuntal elements”. Quite the antithesis of Julia Fischer's glorious violin account (Pentatone PTC 5186 072, re-issued on PTC 5186682). During the listening sessions, it occurred to me that Aldemir did not just play the music. With supple bowing, he seemed to be drawing the geniality of some of Bach's major compositions straight from the memory-laden soundboard of his 1560 Pellegriono de Micheli instrument. Sheer magic.
Midori's version is unique in that it is excellent for watching, played against the decor of the beautiful Castle of Köthen, Germany, whereas this new recording, taken in the Sankt Agnus Kirche in the same historical German town, is unique in that it offers, next to pure DSD, an additional 3D-Binaural-Stereo format using an artificial head, which is specifically meant for headphone listeners.
The notes do not say who the author of the viola arrangement, or more correctly I suppose, transcription is. For all I know the French viola player, Gérard Caussé, made one, so this one could well be his', although there are also older transcriptions like those of Angelo Consolini (1859–1934) and Werner Icking (1943-2001).
Both SACD's are in a handsome carton digipack with an informative booklet in the middle.
Surely a must-have for all serious Bach enthusiasts
Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.
Copyright © 2020 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net
Aldemir's really outstanding game: musical and dancing, but also clear and intelligent. ..Aldemir's Bach touches and moves, and despite all the sophistication and complexity, this extremely sophisticated music reaches the heart directly.
"Clear, warm and cleverly structured - this is the sound of the brook by Turkish violinist and violist Attila Aldemir." "... Attila Aldemir plays the pieces with the same virtuosity as on a violin, but the sound gets under your skin even more here." "The full, creamy and warm sound of his viola from 1560 goes perfectly with Bach. In addition, there is Aldemir's really outstanding interpretion: musical and dancing, but also clear and intelligent. "
Complete broadcast manuscript - Moderation Klassikwelt 11.11.2020
Have a nice good evening and welcome to the classical world on Wednesday. The three big B's in music history are there today - that is, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. At the end there is also the new and wonderful CD “Pennies from Heaven” by the Mandelring Quartet with encore pieces between serious and popular music.
Bremen Zwei with the classic world and innovations from the Phonomarkt. The viola is a wonderful instrument, but it has a hard time. There are thousands of jokes about the viola and its players, and compared to the brilliant violin, the viola is often the ugly duckling. But if you listen to the new album by the Turkish virtuoso Atilla Aldemir, then all Bratschenwitz narrators should quickly stand in the corner and be ashamed.
Aldemir plays the six sonatas and partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach in an arrangement for the viola. That sounds surprising at first, but the result is more than convincing. Attila Aldemir plays the pieces with the same virtuosity as on a violin, but the sound almost gets under your skin here. The full, creamy and warm sound of his viola from 1560 suits Bach perfectly. In addition, there is Aldemir's really outstanding game: musical and dancing, but also clear and intelligent. Here is a first example: Attila Aldemir with the Allegro from Bach's Violin Sonata in A minor, played on the viola ...
Music Bach Sonata - 6´06 (CD 1 Track 16)
Clear, warm and cleverly structured - this is the sound of the brook by Turkish violinist and violist Attila Aldemir. That was the Allegro from the solo sonata in A minor, catalog raisonné 1003. On his new double album, Aldemir plays Bach's “Sei Solo”, the 6 sonatas and partitas for violin - but here on a viola that was built in 1560.
The classical world on Bremen Zwei today with new chamber music recordings. The new Bach record by Attila Aldemir was created in the St. Agnus Church in Köthen. Bach himself lived and worked there for 6 years, and this authentic recording room was an incredible inspiration for Aldemir. You can feel that Aldemir is absorbed in Bach's music, loves and understands it. When he was admitted to Bach's Koethen church, he was apparently particularly close to the composer. Aldemir's Bach touches and moves, and despite all the sophistication and complexity, this extremely sophisticated music directly reaches the heart.
Here Atilla Aldemir comes again, this time with Bach's most famous solo piece, the Chaconne from the D minor partita. A kind of "musical world cultural heritage" and one of the greatest pieces in music history ...
Music Bach Chaconne - 14´20 (CD 2 Track 5)
Atilla Aldemir with Johann Sebastian Bach's famous Chaconne in D minor, played on the viola. A terrific new recording by the Turkish born musician. On his new double album he plays the 6 sonatas and partitas on the viola - this experiment has succeeded, a really outstanding Bach CD in the Beethoven year! With Beethoven, the second hour of the classical world continues here on Bremen Zwei. [...]
So I really fell for Atilla Aldemir from the first note on this double CD. I could hardly get enough of the sound of this viola alone. The instrument sounds powerful and sonorous in the lower range, supple and silvery in the upper range. Sometimes it almost seems as if two instruments are playing at the same time. And Aldemir also really impressed me in terms of design. His playing has a "flow" that carries through this complex music. And at the same time he tastes every ornament.
So when Atilla Aldemir plays the viola, she has what it takes to be the violin's big sister. That was an excerpt from the Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. - What kind of viola did we hear? On which instrument did Atilla Aldemir record his Bach?
It is the Viola Pellegrino de Micheli from 1560. A renaissance instrument that existed long before Bach composed these works. For this purpose, Atilla Aldemir had a baroque bow made especially for him, which he lets dance easily and nimbly over the strings. And the place where Aldemir recorded his Bach is also special: The Church of St. Agnus in Köthen, where Bach lived with his family from 1720-22, i.e. when these works were written. And this space can sometimes also be heard on this recording as a faint echo.
Atilla Aldemir brings Bach's sonatas and partitas back to the genius loci. But now I want to hear a little instant review. Bach's violin works on the viola. Is that possible?
So I really fell for Atilla Aldemir from the first note on this double CD. I could hardly get enough of the sound of this viola alone. The instrument sounds powerful and sonorous in the lower range, supple and silvery in the upper range. Sometimes it almost seems as if two instruments are playing at the same time. And Aldemir also really impressed me in terms of design. His playing has a "flow" that carries through this complex music. And at the same time he tastes every ornament.
And now we want to listen to this flow again. What do we hear
I have brought with me what is probably the most famous movement from these solo works. The «Chaconne» from the 2nd Partita.
• Music: Chaconne. Partita No. 2
Bach's “Chaconne” from the second partita for solo violin. Here played on the viola by Atilla Aldemir. The Turkish violist has recorded all of the sonatas and partitas on a double CD. It will be released on November 25th on Cybele Records.
Review - Bach: Partitas and Sonatas for solo (vi) violin BWV 1001-1006- - Atilla Aldemir - OpusKlassiek
For the CD buyer it often does not matter: the genesis of a production. Moreover: what ultimately counts is the music itself, its performance. Naturally, this also applies to this set with Bach's partitas and sonatas, originally written for the violin but performed by the Turkish musician Atilla Aldemir on his body instrument: the viola, and what a real Pellegrino de Micheli from 1560 that sounds like the seems to have stood the test of time excellently.
But still, I don't want to deny you the foreword in the CD booklet, written by Mirjam Wiesemann, wife of Ingo Schmidt-Lucas, 'Tonmeister' and manager of the Cybele label. It should be noted that Wiesemann is also very active for the label and is known for, among other things, the many interviews she has recorded on CD or otherwise in the CD booklet with composers and musicians of all kinds: Mirjam Wiesemann in conversation with.
Music as a connecting element: it is often said but fortunately often enough put into practice. This certainly applies to this production in which - albeit posthumously - Klemens Schmitzer, once a master of the trombone, had an important role to play, but was forced to give up his much-loved instrument in 1999 for health reasons. However, music did not let him go: he studied cultural management and quickly built up a reputation in it.
As a brand new culture and orchestra manager, he and his wife left the east of Germany for Lübeck, where Schmidt-Lucas met him in 2007 at the Theater Lübeck. Schmitzer was active as director of the theater orchestra.
The personal contacts between the Schmitzer and Schmidt-Lucas / Wiesemann couple became even stronger after Schmitzer's appointment as orchestra manager of the Berlin Konzerthaus, followed in 2015 by his appointment in Wuppertal with the local symphony orchestra and the Wuppertaler Bühnen.
On January 20, 2018, the first memorable meeting between Schmidt-Lucas and Atilla Aldemir took place in Schmitzer's home. One of the possible projects discussed there was the integral recording of Bach's sonatas and partitas. However, no one could have imagined that Aldemir would play Bach's Chaconne at the funeral of Klemens Schmitzer in Dresden six months later, on 20 July. Schmitzer had passed away unexpectedly, a week after his 51st birthday, which he had celebrated happily among family and friends.
And so this album, which in fact came about on Schmitzer's initiative, is also a very special, personal memory to that equally special friendship. It follows that this album was also released as a musical in memoriam.
In the interview between Wiesemann and Aldemir included in the booklet, the altist is by no means the first who has been involved with these works since his youth. And of course it is adventurous and fascinating at the same time to make the transition from the violin to the viola. A radical step, although nothing substantial changes in the counterpoint devised by Bach with great finesse. But in terms of sound and playing technique, the viola has a different signature compared to the violin. Not that the image of these sonatas and partitas is tilted as a result, but that the viola requires a rhetoric adapted to it: in terms of maneuverability alone, the viola is clearly subordinate to the violin, which means that perhaps even higher technical demands are placed on highlighting the light, lively but also the intensely contemplative character that these pieces naturally possess, while that so typical baroque style must be preserved anyway. Aldemir was fully aware that it was not only a question of the instrument as a whole, but also the right choice of bow and strings. While the acoustics in which the action takes place also plays an important role. The choice for the St. Agnus Kirche in Köthen was therefore perhaps obvious for two reasons: The young Bach still sang in this church as a member of the church in the Sunday services (his name is included in the preserved church register) and - I know it from my own experience - the acoustics are more than excellent.
Bach put the finishing touches to these six pieces for solo violin in 1720 in Köthen, which he had started in 1703 in Weimar. Continuously interrupted work for a period of no less than 17 years. In Köthen, Bach, as Kapellmeister attached to the court of Landgrave Leopold von Anhalt-Köthen, also wrote the six Brandenburg concertos and the six suites for cello solo. Köthen was also an important stopping place for Bach from a creative point of view.
As far as we know, the Sei Soli (the original title of the sonatas and partitas) were never performed at St. Agnus in Bach's time. At least no indication has been found. Whether Bach himself ever performed these works in whole or in part (he was, according to the tradition, also a very talented violinist) will also have to remain hidden in the lap of history. There is not even any unambiguity about the performance by other musicians at the time, but that of Joseph Spiess is most likely the most likely, when the concertmaster of the Köthense orchestra (which, given the by no means small degree of difficulty of the Brandenburg concertos, must have been of high content). Other names in circulation are those of Johann Georg Pisendel and Jean-Baptiste Volumier, both associated with the court orchestra in Dresden surrounded by a lot of brilliance and splendor.
Although these sonatas and partitas have been recorded in all conceivable performances but also in arrangements (the discographic range can even be called incalculable) and some things have certainly happened in the field of historicizing performance practice in the past fifty years, the most important anchor points have remained intact: stylistic purity, affinity with form and content, articulation and intonation, rhythmic suppleness, dynamic gradation (even on a single note!) phrasing.
This is music that tolerates a certain degree of 'ad' ad libitum 'excellently, although such freedoms must be based on knowledge and experience. An example of such an approach can be found in the various dance forms (courante, gavotte, sarabande, ciaccona, loure, bourée, gigue, etc.), in the polyphonic dialogues and in the fugues with the contrasts between main and side issues. Freedom in bondage, you could say, which doesn't have to stand in the way of musical integrity.
A good example of this is the splendid interpretation of the violinist Arthur Grumiaux, who recorded the sonatas and partitas for Philips in the early 1960s and explicitly demonstrates once again that, although time has certainly not stood still, age in itself is not a meaningful criterion. is.
Then there is Atilla Aldemir, both virtuoso and warm-blooded, who shows that the viola is an excellent partner in such in-depth exploration. We thus become acquainted with a great musical personality who, like the greatest violinists in this field, knows 'his' Bach particularly well, intelligence and style purity with great resents conviction as a unifying element and, through his individual contribution, brings the necessary tension to this beautifully elaborated discourse. How attractive the viola can sound in this repertoire is demonstrated, for example, by the bronze sonority at the beginning of the allemande from the Second Partita. But also how agile the viola is able to manifest itself in the right hands, as in the Allegro of the Second Sonata, for example. And then there was the very critical choice of the bow (Aldemir tells about it in the interview), which will certainly have helped him with the extremely difficult chords that Bach set up for the violinist. No doubt also about the voice, the particularly beautifully elaborated melody lines, the choice of tempo, the ornamentation and the rhythmic precision. Although the recording data shows that it was not exactly overnight, the spontaneity of this interpretation splashes, which only increases the added value of this recital.
In summary, Atilla Aldemir turns out to be a great Bach interpreter on this beautifully documented album. This beautiful album is also framed by a jewel of a recording in DSD / SACD. The enthusiast not only has the choice of stereo or (five-channel) surround, but can also enjoy the 3D artificial head alternative (binaural stereo).
With this double CD, Atilla Aldemir ... presents an appealing “calling card”, which impressively demonstrates the broad spectrum of his skills. The whole record resembles a generously designed sonata evening, and Aldemir has a decidedly proactive partner in Itamar Golan at his side. The first movement of the Brahms Sonata is designed in a stormy, empathetic manner ... The dark sound of the viola, an instrument built in 1560 by Peregrino di Zanetto, has potential for addiction, however, and Aldemir knows how to use it sensitively, with beautiful “parlando” moments in the slow movement. The duo approaches the ländler-like third movement and the finale sweepingly boisterous.
[Nothing] clouds the hearing of Shostakovich's Sonata, whose Scherzo succeeds with characteristic doggedness, while in the concluding Adagio time is virtually halted.
At the end, Aldemir changes to a new instrument by Alexandre Breton, built in 2017, whose more direct sound proves to be perfect for the contemporary Turkish works. Aldemir very discreetly elaborates the folkloristic elements of Akses' Capriccio and brings out the oud imitation in Turgay's Troy convincingly. The Capriccio by Vieuxtemps is a perfect encore.
Atilla's intonation is impeccable while his tonal quality is very beautiful—sonorous, but without that booming which can be oppressive in some violas. He is a complete master of the instrument, but this is not to neglect in any way Golan's superb contribution. I just wish he would play the opening of the Brahms more simply, but who am I to object if he feels the music that way?
For those who have a problem of this kind, it must be said that each CD has quite short measure. It makes me wonder why the three “fillers” are there. Without the three “fillers” we would have needed only one CD, yet they are all valuable additions. For me, I confess, recording quality is a lesser concern, only attracting attention for negative reasons. There is no such problem here—the sound quality and balance are excellent. Atilla's notes are partly personal/autobiographical but also informative and well-written.
Having not previously come across the Turkish violist Atilla Aldemir, I was keen to discover what he and Itamar Golan would make of the three sonatas here. They are among the greatest works in a repertoire not blessed with a wealth of masterpieces. If this sounds rueful, then it is because I write from experience as a professional violist (over 30 years in the Bournemouth Symphony). Yes, I do know that the Franck was originally composed for violin or cello, but in the several recordings I have heard it works very successfully on the viola. So, perhaps we could cheat and regard it as an honorary member. Aldemir has been principal viola with the MDR Symphony Orchestra of Leipzig since 2017 and plays two instruments here—a Pellegrino di Za- netto (1560!) in the three sonatas and an Alexandre Breton (2017) in the solo works. The Brahms F-Minor Sonata receives a virile, richly satisfying performance. The only part I do not like is the very opening, where Golan uses far too much rubato. I belie- ve that Brahms rarely benefits from being pulled about, but especially when the pia- no is simply introducing the first subject. (Diversion: I remember a very famous pianist coming to Bournemouth with Brahms's First Concerto. From the very first bars of his entry he announced, with his debilitating rubato, that Brahms was clearly not his natural territory.) If you feel the same way, do not be put off by the first bars, or you will miss an otherwise great performance. I shall not elaborate, except to say that from every aspect—tempos, characterization, commitment, unanimity—the two players bring off this sonata tremendously well. My only other small caveat concerns the arrival of the second subject (piano, ma ben marcato), where the music ideally needs a little more mystery, tension, or drama (I cannot find the perfect word).
The performance of Franck's sonata is equally fine—as eloquent in the reflective music as in the passionate and dramatic. Technically also the players deserve accolades, though I mean specifically the pianist in the turbulent Allegro second movement, who has a far more demanding part than the viola. The beautifully played finale, beginning with a melody of radiant innocence treated in canon—a modest beauty making a quiet entrance—concludes a deeply rewarding performance. This wonderful sonata was Franck's wedding present to Ysaÿe and his wife.
Shostakovich's Viola Sonata was his last work and there is evidence to suggest that he knew it would be. This knowledge (or theory) should not affect our judgment, of course, but if true it certainly would have influenced the tone of the piece. It is clearly among Shostakovich's bleakest works. The very beginning, pizzicato open strings, is an only slightly disguised reference to the opening of Berg's Violin Concerto, which is unarguably a death-related piece. The performance here is outstanding. Aldemir and Golan genuinely inhabit this grim world, though they also achieve more light and shade than I have heard in most performances. This is definitely a plus, for no composer of any stature would write even the darkest of works lasting over half an hour without passages of contrasting relief. Apparently Shostakovich includes numerous quotations from his own works in the Adagio finale (as well as repeatedly referring to Beethoven's so-called “Moonlight” Sonata), but I cannot pretend to have identified them all. Atilla and Golan are remarkably successful in conveying the gravity of this music, yet again I have heard many more performances which maximize its grimness to the exclusion of any other feeling. I am grateful to have heard this expressively nuanced interpretation and do not feel the sonata is in any way diminished by this more balanced—perhaps even more human?—approach.
The three shorter pieces are very engaging in different ways. The piece by the Turkish Akses (1908–1999)—a new name to me—is splendidly written for the viola and an impressive work in an accessible idiom. The Turgay is “a lament permeated by frenzied virtuoso outbursts,” as the violist/booklet-annotator remarks—also “deeply rooted in Asia Minor.” Again this is a compelling piece and it is difficult to imagine more eloquent advocacy. The Vieuxtemps Capriccio will be familiar to most violists, a fine piece and deservedly popular.
Is the viola the ideal instrument for passion? Sometimes it is said to have a tendency to be cumbersome and its low range is called “harsh”. But for the high notes, Berlioz and Strauss, in their instrumentation studies, ascribe to it the ability to “express sadness and passion”, which is probably why there is also the prejudice that viola music is mostly melancholy.
Atilla Aldemir and Itamar Golan give their new recording the title Passion. When listening to the “Allegro appassionato” of Brahms' F minor Sonata, originally composed for clarinet, one thinks less of passion and more of classicistic Beethoven worship. Individual chords are placed there as if it were an architectural construction. Fortunately, in the following movements the two artists unfold a wide spectrum with highly differentiated viola and piano sounds and the most diverse shades.
Aldemir plays the A major Sonata by César Franck in large, expressive melody arcs. But on the violin, for which it was composed, passion is better expressed. On the viola, the sonata appears somewhat faint and the listener realizes that the “passion” of a violin is different from that of the viola.
This becomes clear in Shostakovich's sonata, which was written with the viola in mind. Here the contrasts between the low tones on the C and G strings and the high notes on the A string are used to create an astonishing composition. The beginning alone, with pizzicato on the viola and percussively dabbed piano sounds, is fascinating and is performed by the two soloists with the greatest delicacy. When the viola then begins to play its melody, a passionate mood emerges that can only be displayed on this instrument. In the “Allegretto”, Aldemir and Golan shape the bizarre grotesque rhythms and melodies with audible joy, and in the “Adagio” they immerse the listener in the atmosphere of Beethoven's “Moonlight Sonata”, whose motives are quoted by Shostakovich.
Aldemir succeeds in capturing melancholy, sadness and transcendence with the viola, and together with the congenial accompaniment of Golan, he raises the intensity of the music to the highest passion. In the following works for solo viola, Aldemir presents himself as a technically accomplished virtuoso, who with his expressive playing teaches us to appreciate unknown music by the Turkish composers Necil Kâzım Akses and Halit Turgay.
In the CD booklet Atilla Aldemir writes very personally about the selection of works. This is, on the one hand, sympathetic. But on the other hand, one of the reasons why people today buy CDs instead of streaming the music is because they want to be better informed, for example, to learn more about works and composers; and that comes a little too short here.
"By the way, this CD is highly worth listening to; this is especially the case with the Sonata for Viola and Piano by Dmitri Shostakovich, which is brilliantly performed by the two soloists. With this CD, Aldemir records for the first time solo sonatas for viola by the two Turkish composers Necil Kazim Akses and Halit Turgay: exciting music!"
1) You are also a violist as well as a violinist ... Can you be married with two instruments and please both ...?
Well, I guess the answer is "passion" that you have for what you do. I admire the sound of both instruments very much; the deep and mellow sound of viola, the passionate sound of violin.
And I love reaching to the hearts of the audience through these different sounds.
2) In this CD "Passion" for the GWK label there are three major works, three fundamental Sonatas. Why are them and not others?
I wanted to play the late works of 3 great composers composed for viola (and arranged for viola): Shostakovich, Frank and Brahms . The Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147, is the last composition by Dmitri Shostakovich, completed in July 1975, just weeks before his death. Cesar Franck composed the Sonata in 1886, 4 years before his death and Johannes Brahms composed Sonata in 1894, 3 years before his death . All three works are late compositions by the composers, which shows their deep maturity. I always felt connected to those pieces.
3 )In turn, these works contain as epilogues three short pieces, one of them, Troja, composed for you by Halit Turgay …
What violas have you used for this recording?
I played the 3 sonatas with the viola made by Zanetti Pellegrino in 1560 which is almost 460 years old ! And I played the solo pieces in the CD with a modern viola made in 2016 by a great luthier Alexandre Breton in Berlin. I wanted to present different sounds in order to offer different experience and times to the audience.
4 ) As one of the most important Turkish musicians of the moment, although you reside in Germany, how is the cultural situation in your country?
As you know Turkey is the bridge between West and East, founded on both Asian and European continents. It has an enormously rich culture due to thousands of years of historical heritage. Let me give you a recent example : An archaeological site called “ Göbeklitepe” is almost 12 thousand years and is rewriting our entire understanding of Human History, as archaeologists say. I guess this is the reason why artists coming from my county are really talented in their own genuine way.
When it comes to supporting art, there is a long way that we still need to take. Art is still perceived as a less important subject at schools. However scientists are now speaking about importance of developing humanitarian skills - like art -more than ever, because the era of robots is round the corner. Turkish state, municipalities should give more emphasize on art and support it starting from primary schools, even from kinder gartens. There should be more budget allocated to culture/art, we should be sending more talented students to study abroad, provide better quality musical instruments to musicians, we should establish more orchestras, theatre groups to reach to a wider audience even in small cities. Art has the magical touch to bring & keep people together and my country needs this feeling very much especially in these days.
5) Itamar Golan is a perfect companion, with a sound that shows great balance with that of his piano? Do you have concerts with this repertoire?
Itamar and I have known each other since 2002, we got along perfectly since the moment we met in Israel. I can honestly say that we do not need any words to understand each other even during rehearsals. We gave concerts in Israel, Turkey and Germany, he is such a special musician who makes me feel “Thank God, I am making music”
We played the same concert recently at the MDR Music Sommer Festival in Dresden, Germany. We will of course give other concerts together for the launch of our CD.
The violist Atilla Aldemir has entitled his latest record, released by the gwk label, “Passion”, and in fact, the title could not have been better chosen. Aldemir's passion for his instrument and the works he has chosen is evident every minute of this double CD. And indeed, life as a violist requires deep conviction and a thick skin – the middle instrument between violin and cello is still disreputable in the music world and in the orchestra pit. Quite wrongly! ... Listening to his new recording, one is tempted to say that his heart belongs to this instrument – so he decided to make a recording of the Sonata in F minor Op. 120, 1 by Johannes Brahms and César Franck's Violin Sonata in A major on the viola ....
From the very first bars of the Brahms sonata, Aldemir manages to captivate the listener with his passionate playing, but also with the warm timbre of this instrument. The full and warm sound does not suffer even in the more virtuoso movements such as the Allegro of the Franck sonata or the Allegretto of Shostakovich's work. Especially when you have Franck's original version with violin in your ear, it becomes evident how much the work gains in sound and intensity by using the viola. Shostakovich's work, which he completed on his deathbed, is played brilliantly throughout.
For the duo works on this recording, Aldemir has chosen pianist Itamar Golan as his musical partner. The two musicians have known each other since a meeting in Israel and it is not difficult to see that the chemistry between them is just right. Golan manages the balancing act of carrying Aldemir musically on his hands without losing or even disappearing in radiance and brilliance. The three impressive duo works are complemented by three solo works, of which the Capriccio by Necil Kazim Akses and Troy, dedicated to the musician, by Halit Turgay are first recordings. Here Aldemir acknowledges the extremes and picks up an entirely new viola, an instrument made by Alexandre Breton in 2017, his “racing car”. Although the sound of the younger instrument is sharper than that of the Zanetti, this fits perfectly with the newer sounds. Atilla Aldemir concludes his literally passionate double album with a declaration of love for the work that brought him to the viola, the intimately and highly virtuosically played Capriccio Hommage à Paganini by Henri Vieuxtemps.... A great finale and an extremely intense one.
The principal violist with the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig, Atilla Aldemir is also an internationally distinguished chamber musician and soloist who has received multiple awards as both a violinist and as a violist. Together with the internationally acclaimed pianist Itamar Golan, he explores the extremes of passion in his latest release, which features Shostakovich's Viola Sonata op. 147 as well as arrangements of Brahms's F-minor Sonata op. 120 no. 1 and César Franck's A-major Sonata. Aldemir has recorded these sonatas on one of the oldest and most beautiful of all violas, a Peregrino di Zanetto from 1560. By contrast he performs three shorter and highly expressive pieces for solo viola on a modern instrument by Alexandre Breton that dates from 2017. For Aldemir, Vieuxtemps's "Capriccio" is a unique expression of psychological greatness, while the release is rounded off by two world-premiere recordings of works by contemporary Turkish composers who have yet to be discovered in the West. Necil Kanm Akses' "Capriccio" (1978) is a sophisticated mix of the Anatolian musical tradition and Western European compositional techniques, while "Troya" by Halit Turgay ( *1967) is a lament grounded in Asia Minor and spiced with virtuoso outbursts. Turgay wrote it for Atilla Aldemir in 2018.
The Turkish violinist Atilla Aldemir, principal violist of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig, has shifted his focus from the violin to the viola in recent years. He has been performing with the Israeli pianist Itamar Golan for several years now, and the two have become a well-attuned team.
On the now presented double CD, the duo undertakes an exciting musical journey from the late 19th century to the present.
Johannes Brahms' Op. 120 No. 1 is a sonata originally intended for clarinet and piano, but even in this new combination of instruments, it does not miss its effect. In César Franck's sonata in A major, the viola replaces the violin intended by the composer, which makes the sound appear correspondingly darker.
Dmitri Shostakovich's Op. 147, the composer's Swan Song, is then heard in the original instrumentation with viola and piano. This deeply moving piece, written practically on his deathbed, originated in 1975, the year Aldemir was born.
Aldemir plays these three sonatas on a Pellegrino Zanetti from 1560, whereas for the following three solo pieces he switches to an instrument built in Andre Breton's studio in 2017.
In addition to the capriccio “Hommage à Paganini” by the Belgian composer Henri Vieuxtemps, an extremely virtuoso piece, Aldemir plays a capriccio by the Turkish composer Necil Kozim Akses and a piece dedicated to him, Troy for viola solo by his compatriot Halit Turgoy, born in 1967, which concludes this atmospherically dense journey through time.
For all lovers of chamber music a worthwhile new release!
“Elemental and sensitive” can be considered the trademark of this eminently captivating duo. For the Turkish violist Attila Aldemir, soloist of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig since 2017, and the no less expressive Israeli pianist Itamar Golan, their chamber-music climbing tour is about everything. Risk and somnambulistic surefootedness, instinctive rushing, eavesdropping and daring the extreme grip, in a word, fully trusting each other on the artistically precisely turned rope without a net at an airy musical height. […]
In the duos, Aldemir plays an immensely sonorous Pellegrino di Zanetto from 1560, in the solo part a viola by Alexandre Breton from 2017.
This chamber music album has nothing slick and does not bathe in superficial glamour. Music can be experienced here in all its roughness, existential power and curiously interpretatively open new exploration. Stirring!
The friendly curly-haired Attila Aldemir publishes here a portrait CD on which he introduces himself on the instrument of his passion, the viola. He could also have played the violin, because that is the instrument he originally came from, and he won competitions on it... But he chose the viola, because it seemed more attractive to him for the works on his debut CD, with its dark passionate low register. Thus on this CD, you have three heavyweights of the viola literature: The Sonata in F minor Op. 120 by Johannes Brahms for clarinet and piano, officially designated by the composer himself for viola and piano. Then there is the Sonata Op. 147 by Dmitri Shostakovich, also originally for viola and piano. And the violin sonata by César Franck in a version for viola. Hardly anyone dares to do that. Tabea Zimmermann sometimes plays it, but you rarely hear it elsewhere. …
That sounds very convincing, I think, the Franck sonata set deeper, in passionate alto register. While the violinists build up the passion and tension of this sonata more from a virtuosic-furiant rubato style, Attila Aldemir relies on the eroticism and penetrating power of the rich, sonorous depth of his instrument and interprets the high registers as if they were arpeggio-like torn overtone spectra. All in all, his interpretation is more sound-orientated and geared towards the shaping of the broad, far-reaching phrases than towards agility and musical details – perhaps this is also due to the somewhat heavier reaction of his instrument compared to the violin. In return, his partner on the piano, Itamar Golan, who comes from Israel, creates all the more differentiated forms and lets César Franck's sonata rejoice, rage and sparkle, always audible, always exciting and thrilling. Together they form a harmonious picture for me.
Definitely worth hearing is the sound of his instrument, which he also raves about in the booklet: sonorous and powerful in the depths, with a warm, yet light and almost silvery height, wonderfully balanced in all registers. This viola is a celebrity: an instrument made by the violin maker Peregrini Zanetti from Brescia and dates from about 1560 – Curt Sachs described the instrument in detail in his benchmark “Real-Lexikon der Musikinstrumente” in 1917 and described it as the oldest surviving viola da Braccio. The famous Stradivaris were built about 100 years later.
With the violist Atilla Aldemir, emotions and fine musical presentation go completely into one. Music and life dissolve into Shostakovich's opus ultimum, the sonata for viola and piano. But what remains? That is the question. The exquisite pianist Itamar Golan at times confronts the soft viola tone with hardness. The beginning is reminiscent of Schubert's “Leiermann”, which invites the listener to a farewell song. Aldemir and Golan convincingly explore the expressive palette of this lament, from tenderness to the grotesque. Brahms' Sonata in F minor entered the violists' core repertoire. The viola is seldom heard so differentiated, gentle and passionate, bucolic and graceful. Aldemir plays in the duos a Pellegrino di Zanetto viola from 1560. Sounds such as a dark mountain lake blue in the depths. The high notes remind one of a murky orange. For the solo works – Necil Kazim Aksesʼ “Capriccio” (1978) and Halit Turgay's “Troy” (2018) were recorded for the first time for this double CD – Aldemir used a very ligh, appealing modern instrument.
Passion Church Berlin Kreuzberg: “Minstrel's Era” combined old Ottoman music with jazz (17.11.2019)
The concert series “Minstrel's Era” is dedicated to the Ottoman-Byzantine musical tradition and took place at venues in Halle, Leipzig, Dessau and Berlin. At its final concert in the Passion Church in Kreuzberg, it built a deeply moving bridge to the musical present. Derya Türkan, Turkey's leading Kemençe virtuoso, met the violinist and violist Atilla Aldemir. The instrumentation was completed by the Dutch bassist Eric Van Der Westen and the Turkish composer and pianist Çağrı Sertel. This encounter was made possible not least by the Yunus Emre Institute.
If you compare politically binding national borders or fanatically defended cultural barriers with the wonderfully fluid character of spheres of influence on the musical map, a sometimes absurd contradiction is already apparent: Orient? Occident? Music from Christian, Islamic, Jewish tradition? What has been handed down, what sounds and touches and comes from the deepest soul, seems to care very little about small-minded limitations.
The Passion Church in Berlin-Kreuzberg offered a refuge on this evening to dive into such a world. Or would we rather say: To take off into a higher sphere? For when Derya Türkan sets the strings of his Kemençe, the old Turkish caste-neck lute, vibrating, this singing, sometimes plaintive, silky shimmering, at the same time piercingly present sound evokes manifold states of limbo. They enter into an astonishing dialogue with his partner on a rather “occidental” string instrument: Attila Aldemir, also from Turkey, who – coming from the violin – discovered the viola for himself a few years ago. The reason: the middle register of this instrument seemed to Attila Aldemir to be more suitable to get close to the “centre” of music, meaning the true, deep emotion.
Eric van der Westen's gripping, unobtrusive playing on the double bass seems like a foundation resting in itself, where deep tones blacken the background for the entire brilliance of the string sound and where a subliminally driving groove is the propellant for further improvisational thinking about the old pieces. In this respect, the pianist Çağrı Sertel is where the threads come together: His playing weaves subtly intelligent networks with maximum sensual elegance to enrich and diversify the homophonic tonal language of the “originals” with their Byzantine, Jewish Armenian influences. As meditative as these finely woven, ornamentally rich musical carpets are, as many diverse moments emerge from it: many magical sound mixtures of unison voices, sometimes only a microinterval apart or next to each other, cause astonishment. Powerful twists and turns give the musical flow a haunting rhetoric over and over again. Sometimes a meditative bass solo wanders through the room like a call to prayer, only to open up space for the other instruments again. Whoever succeeds in this moment in sensitive immersion in this place feels sublime and above the filthy reality, which unfortunately is often hostile to a harmonious coexistence of cultures.
Although the world is not exactly waiting for a new chamber music recording, the Turkish violist Atilla Aldemir is allowed to put himself impressively in musical scene on the double CD Passion. After all, the disc offers two world premiere recordings of pieces by Halit Turgay (“Troy” for solo viola) and Necil Kazım Akses (Capriccio). With piano partner Itamar Golan, the 44-year-old then delves into the standard repertoire with sonatas by Brahms, César Franck and Shostakovich. As a treat and a fitting last track of these 100 minutes of viola playing, Henri Vieuxtempsʼ “Hommage à Paganini” pours out onto the listener. Very respectable.
Die Akustik ist ein glückliches Zusammenwirken aller Raumkomponenten. Die drei Musiker sind Meister ihres Faches und bilden ein Trio, das wie ein Instrument klingt. Am Flügel spielte Zhora Sargsyan, ein junger Armenier, der in seiner Vita als Student ausgewiesen ist, aber als Solist und Kammermusiker weltweit auftritt. Atilla Aldemir, geboren in Istanbul, ist im Siıfonieorchester des Mitteldeutschen Rundfunks erster Solobratschist, hier im Trio spielt er den Geigenpart. Der Dresdner Friedemann Ludwig ergänzt das Trio mit seinem Violoncello. Im Konzerthausorchester Berlin ist er erster Solocellist, aber daneben ebenfalls gefragter Solo-und Kammermusiker.
Auf dem Programm standen drei große Namen: Mozart, Beethoven und Brahms. Dem letzten Trio von Mozart, dem in G-Dur KV 564, wird Einfachheit nachgesagt. Wenn sie dann noch so perfekt gespielt wird, haben Zuhörer noch größere Freude.
Jede Einzelheit wird ausgespielt, die Instrumente unter- halten sich, indem sie die Themen sich zuspielen. Das- selbe gilt für Beethovens Trio in D-Dur op. 70,1, auch als Geistertrio" bekannt. Die drei Musiker beschwören aber in dem langsamen Satz keine Geister, sondern lassen die Musik sprechen mit wun- dervollem spannungsreichen Spiel. Das Trio H-Dur, op. 8 von Brahms ist ein umgearbeitetes Jugendwerk. Er hat hier ,viele unnütze Schwierigkeiten" (O-Ton Brahms) rausgenommen und das Ge- wicht auf die Ausarbeitung der Themen gelegt. Ein sich aus einem kurzen Walzer er gebender Schluss forderte zu langem Beifall heraus.
Das Interview führte Stefan Pieper
Herr Aldemir, Sie sind im schnelllebigen Probenalltag eines Rundfunksinfonieorchesters gefordert, musizieren im Duo mit ihrem Pianisten Itamar Golan – und morgen geben Sie ein Konzert mit einem türkischen Kemence-Spieler, wo Jazz und Kunstmusik aufeinander treffen. Wie geht das alles bei Ihnen zusammen?
Es hat mir immer schon gefallen, das sinfonische und das solistische Leben zu kombinieren. Abwechselnd mit internationalen Dirigenten und Solisten zu arbeiten, bereichert meine künstlerische Arbeit und tut der schöpferischen Produktivität sehr gut.
Sie haben erst vor einigen Jahren überhaupt angefangen, Bratsche zu spielen und sind jetzt schon Solospieler beim MDR. Wie erklärt sich diese rasante Entwicklung?
Ich kann auf diesem Instrument eine besondere Beseeltheit zum Ausdruck bringen. Eine maßgebliche Anregung dazu habe ich durch meinen damaligen Mentor Matthias Maurer bekommen. Er war mein Bratschenprofessor und ehemaliger Solobratschist des Concertgebouw-Orchesters. Außerdem hatte ich das Glück, zwei hervorragende Instrumente zu finden. Zum einen eine Zanetti Pellegrino, sie stammt aus dem Jahr 1560 und ist von der Größe her fast ein Mini-Cello. Die zweite Bratsche ist ein ganz neues Instrument, gebaut 2016 vom Geigenbauer Alexandre Breton und fast 500 Jahre jünger. Beide haben sehr unterschiedliche Qualitäten, die ich nicht missen möchte. Ich bin seitdem Feuer und Flamme, mir viel Repertoire anzueignen bzw. dieses überhaupt erst für die Bratsche zu erschließen. Neben den Stücken für die neue CD haben es mir die Solo-Violinsonaten von Johann Sebastian Bach besonders angetan.
Geiger gibt es endlos viele, Bratschisten ja schon deutlich weniger. Reizt Sie auch eine gewisse Befreiung von zu viel „Konkurrenz“?
Ich empfinde mich als Streich-Instrumentalist, dem es in erster Linie darum geht, Musik zu machen, egal ob auf der Geige oder auf der Bratsche. Ich habe einige Zeit in Wien gelebt, wo ich wichtige Impulse von meiner ›Geigenmutter‹ Barbara Górzyńska erhielt. Ihr Mann, Matthias Maurer erkannte mein Potential und hat mich dazu ermutigt, mich als eigentlicher Geiger ebenso der Bratsche zuzuwenden. Auf der Bratsche ist es noch einfacher, einen deutlich erkennbaren Wiedererkennungsfaktor herauszuhören. Auch bei den ganz berühmten Spielerinnen und Spielern ist es so. Darüber hinaus empfinde ich den Klang der Bratsche als beseelter, so dass ich mich damit als Künstler noch besser identifizieren kann und daher meine eigene Signatur für die Hörer noch klarer erkennbar wird. Ich bin nun seit April 2017 Solobratschist beim MDR-Sinfonieorchester in Leipzig und möchte zukünftig auch in meinen solistischen Tätigkeiten den Fokus auf die Bratsche legen.
Verraten Sie mir einige grundsätzliche Unterschiede zwischen den beiden Streichinstrumenten!
Als Geiger denkt man oft, je schneller und lauter, desto besser. Diesem sportlichen Aspekt setzt die Bratsche eine andere Dimension entgegen: Der Klang ist einfach tiefer und oft auch eigenständiger. Auch geht es nicht so sehr um Tempo auf der Bratsche, denn für alles braucht es viel mehr Bogenkontrolle. Die Bogentechnik ist wesentlich schwieriger würde ich sagen. Generell geht es mir nicht um irgend welchen Ehrgeiz, der beste sein zu wollen. Ich möchte einfach auf der Bühne sein und Musik machen.
Sie haben beim MDR Sinfonieorchester unter Kristian Järvis Leitung gespielt. Wie haben Sie diese Zeit erlebt?
Järvis Mut zu kreativen Programmen hat mich maßgeblich zu meinen aktuellen Projekten inspiriert. Ich habe hier eine neue Art der Interpretation kennen gelernt. Sie ist wenig konventionell, dafür eher kompakt. Järvi bricht gerne Tabus, aber gerade das kommt gut an! Genau diese Denkweise lebt auf der neuen CD fort: Warum soll man nicht etwas machen, wenn es doch Spaß macht? Deswegen präsentiere ich neue Arrangements von Kompositionen, die jetzt zum ersten Mal auf der Bratsche erklingen. Man muss neue Wege einschlagen – aber ohne, dass man aus alten Kirchen eine Disco macht. Denn das wäre Scharlatanerie.
Gehört es zu Ihrem Wesen, dass Sie sich immer neu erfinden?
Ich habe beobachtet, wie Personen oder Künstler früher ihre Laufbahn geplant haben. Man bewarb sich, um irgendwo unter zu kommen, lernte fürs Probespiel das Konzert von Hofmeister oder Stamitz und alles maß sich daran. Für mich ist dieser Weg heute zu eingegrenzt. Das musikalische Repertoire ist dafür viel zu reichhaltig und riesig. Da reicht es mir nicht, einfach nur 40 Jahre lang zum Dienst zu gehen. Sie dürfen das nicht falsch verstehen: Ich liebe es, im Orchester zu musizieren. Vor allem mit Kristjan Järvi habe ich viele Crossover-Projekte gemacht. Und ich verspüre auch den starken Drang, mehr aus der eigenen Kultur zu machen. In meiner Freizeit höre ich unter anderem gern türkische Kniegeigenmusik. Warum nicht irgendwann mal ein Bratschenkonzert im Stil einer Kemence komponieren? Wie klingen die Violinsonaten von Bach auf der Viola? Oder Schumanns Violinkonzert? Ich würde all diese Neuerungen gerne für mich entdecken und dann dem Publikum zugänglich machen.
Erzählen Sie, wie das Programm entstand! Sie erweitern ja das Spektrum durch türkische Komponisten…
Necil Kazim Akses gehörte zu dem sogenannten „türkischen Fünfer“ und mich hat die Schönheit dieser Musik immer schon fasziniert. Ich höre im Capriccioso für Solo-Bratsche von Akses viel Begeisterung für den Komponisten Enescu heraus. Auch zu Bartok gibt es Parallelen, denn Akses hat Bartok bei Recherchen in Anatolien begleitet – zugleich war er Mitarbeiter von Paul Hindemith. Ebenso ist er tief in der türkischen Kultur verwurzelt. Es kommt nicht von ungefähr, dass ich hier den Sound der orientalischen Längsflöte Ney nachempfinde.
Was für eine zeitlose Botschaft steckt in dieser Musik?
Da ist ein ganzer Ozean, ein echtes Meer drin. Und so viel Liebe, ebenso viel Klage und so viel Wehmütiges. All das ist doch fantastisch für den Bratschenklang. Dieser kann auch diese typische Bambusflöte gut nachempfinden. Der will sagen: Erkenne, was für Dich Glaube ist und bringe dies zum Ausdruck. Und damit liegt diese Musik auf derselben geistigen Ebene wie Bach.
Der Sufismus ist eine friedliche Geisteshaltung und eben keine Herrschaftsideologie, die sich der Religion bedient. Es geht viel um Achtsamkeit. Liegt Halit Turgays Stück „Troja“ auf einer ähnlichen Wellenlänge?
Das Stück für Solobratsche, das der türkische Komponist, Flötist und Professor am Konservatorium in Ankara für mich geschrieben hat, ist ein Lamento, das von virtuos-furiosen Ausbrüchen durchbrochen wird. Ich habe es im Sommer 2018 in Burhaniye/Ören an der Ägäisküste uraufgeführt.
Turgay hatte beim Komponieren jene Söldner im Sinn, die im Kampf um die nach Troja entführte Helena fielen. Sowohl melodisch wie rhythmisch ist das Werk tief in Kleinasien verwurzelt. Die sich verdichtenden Pizzicato-Passage lassen hier an das Spiel der Oud denken. „Hellas … Hier begann alles und hier wird alles enden.“ Dieses von Mevlana, dem im Westen unter dem Namen Rumi bekannten Begründer des Sufismus überlieferte Wort fällt mir zu diesem Stück ein. Ich wollte hier aber etwas aufnehmen, das intuitiv komponiert ist und nicht verkopft mit einer schöngeistigen Haltung im Kern. Auch bei Turgay habe ich das Gefühl, er komponiert eben das, was ihm Spaß macht. Mich reizen keine Komponisten, die nur eine bessere Technik präsentieren wollen. Konkret geht es hier um Krieg und um Liebe.
Darum, das Liebe den Krieg besiegt?
Liebe und Tragik sind gleichberechtigt vorhanden. Viel morbide Trauer kommt hier lautmalerisch zum Ausdruck, wenn direkt am Steg gespielt wird.
Warum haben Sie Henri Vieuxtemps Capriccio als Finale dieser CD ausgewählt?
Dieses Stück ist der Grund, warum ich zur Bratsche gefunden habe. Das Stück ist so virtuos und dramatisch. Als ich es gehört habe, habe ich mich in die Bratsche verliebt.
In welcher Relation stehen diese „Repertoire“-Entdeckungen zu den bekannten Meisterwerken dieser CD?
Ich wollte hier einen inneren Zusammenhang herstellen. Schostakowitschs Werk wollte ich schon lange mal aufnehmen und hatte jetzt das Gefühl, dass die Zeit dafür reif ist. Von diesem Ausgangspunkt suchte ich andere Meisterwerke als Gegengewicht.
Die Schostakowitsch-Sonate widerspiegelt ja sehr unmittelbar das Lebensende ihres Schöpfers. Sehen Sie hier einen Zusammenhang zum Mevlana-Satz, den Sie auf dem Booklet veröffentlichen, wo es „Stirb in Liebe“ heißt?
Ja, auf jeden Fall. Schostakowitsch bilanziert sein ganzes Leben mit wenigen Tönen. Damit eine Aufführung dieses Stückes wirkt, braucht es eine ganz besondere Haltung: Wir haben bei der Aufführung den Saal verdunkelt, damit die richtige Stimmung entsteht. Erst dann ist ein hohes Maß an innerer Einkehr möglich. Dieser Satz wird nur sehr selten gespielt. Es ist definitiv kein Stück für einen schönen Abschluss im Konzert. Schostakowitsch weiß hier, dass sein Ende nah ist.
Die Sonate von Johannes Brahms und Cesar Francks berühmte A-Dur-Sonate sind Spätwerke. Was für eine Faszination geht gerade aus diesem reifen Lebensabschnitt hervor?
In der späten Brahms-Sonate bündelt sich so viel Ausdrucksreife. Es ist mir ein Anliegen, dies so zu spielen, dass hier die ganze Emotion, diese ganze Liebe und Melancholie zum Leben erwacht. Meine Brahms-Affinität hat sich maßgeblich während der neun Jahre, in denen ich in Wien lebte, entwickelt. Auf dieser CD schlägt Brahms dann auch wieder eine innere Brücke zu den türkischen Komponisten, zur Kultur meines Heimatlandes. Denn auch in der Türkei spricht man sehr viel über die Liebe und räumt solchen Emotionen viel Gewicht ein. Cesar Francks Sonate bündelt ebenfalls viel Leidenschaft, die hier aus einem gelebten Leben hervor geht. Sie entstand gerade einmal zwei Jahre vor dem Tod des Komponisten. Er hat diese Sonate als Hochzeitgeschenk für Eugene Ysaye geschrieben. Ich finde übrigens, die Sonate bekommt auf der Bratsche noch mehr Gewicht und Tiefe als auf der Geige.
Wie gestalteten sich die Aufnahmen mit Ihrem Klavierpartner Itamar Golan?
Wir haben fünf Tage gearbeitet, von morgens bis tief in die Nacht. Wir haben nur gespielt und so gut wie nie darüber gesprochen. Vor allem das macht die Musik so authentisch. Sobald man alles zerredet und die Noten mit Bleistift-Anmerkungen vollkritzelt, geht die Spontaneität verloren. Das war auf Anhieb Konsens zwischen Itamar und mir. Er ist unglaublich schnell und erfasst alles sofort. Umfassender kann ein musikalisches Verständnis kaum sein. Und natürlich fühle ich mich sehr geehrt, dass ich einen so prominenten Klavierpartner für dieses Projekt gefunden habe.
Schön, dass die CD so attraktiv geworden ist. Auch der von Ihnen verfasste Booklet-Text ist sehr bereichernd. Zugleich gibt es viele Major-Labels, die ihre Aufnahmen nur noch als Download herausbringen und überall wird lamentiert, dass die CD tot sei. Wie bewerten Sie selbst die Zukunft des physischen Tonträgers?
Aus eigener Erfahrung sehe ich keine Bedenken, was die Nachfrage nach physischen CDs betrifft. Nach jedem Konzert erlebe ich beim Publikum eine sehr große Nachfrage nach CDs. Die Menschen sind erfüllt und möchten einfach die Begeisterung mit nach Hause nehmen. Als es noch keine Aufnahmen von mir gab, wurde ich immer wieder danach gefragt. Das Publikum hatte so etwas vermisst. Vor allem die aktuelle CD füllt hier eine wichtige Lücke.
KASSEL. Musik für Geige, Cello und Klavier stand im Fokus beim Eröffungskonzert der Meisterkonzert-Reihe des Harleshäuser Musikfests. Und was für ein Auftakt!
Der Geiger und Bratschist Atilla Aldemir präsentierte zusammen mit dem Cellisten Friedemann Ludwig und dem Pianisten Zhora Sargsyan ein Programm, dessen Auswahl und Qualität kaum Wünsche offen ließ. Feinfühlig und nobel..
Feinfühlig und nobel begann der Abend mit dem B-Dur Klaviertrio von Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, einem der ersten großen Beiträge zu dieser Gattung. Zwischen zwei bewegten, spührenden Ecksätzen stand ein leuchtender Mittelsatz voller inniger Gesanglichkeit.
Danach wurden die spieltechnisschen Ansprüche in Felix Mendelssohns Klaviertrio d-Moll noch einem gesteigert, die Stimmungen gerieten drängender und romantischer. Vor allem Sargsyan brillerte in unzähligen rasend schnellen Läufen mit einem kultuvierten, aber auch kraftvollen Anschlag. Aldemir und Ludwig standen immer wieder im Blickkontakt und schufen mit sicherem Gespür große Linien und Akzente. Das zeigte sich auch nach der Pause, womit Bratsche und Cello der erste Satzaus Beethovens "Duo mit zwei obligaten Augengläsern als humorvolles Intermezzo erklang. Der Abschluss gehörte Antonin Dvoraks berühmten Dumky-Trio: Eine elegische Welt für sich, durchzogen von folkloristischem Kolorot genauso wie gespickt mit abwechslungreichen Spieltechnicken. Mit agogischem Spiel und mitreißender Virtuosität loteten die Musiker die Höhen und Tiefen, die bewegten und verklärten Passegen dieser zelitlos reizvollen Musik aus.
Über 150 Zuhörer spendeten danach Begeisterten Applaus.
Von Felix Werthschulte, KulturKreisKassel, HNA Zeitung.
Deutschland, Österreich, Ungarn und die Türkei waren Stationen einer ambitionierten musikalischen Reise beim Harleshäuser Musikfest.
„Orientexpress“ war das 2. Meisterkonzert des 6. Harleshäuser Musikfestes überschrieben. Mit Werken von Komponisten aus den während der Fahrt von Paris nach Istanbul berührten Ländern wurde das Programm gestaltet. Der Zug kehrte quasi in seine Geburtsstadt zurück, denn hier sind von der Firma Wegmann viele seiner Wagen gebaut worden. Die Musik wurde mit sogenannten ernsten Stücken unterhaltend dargeboten, präsentiert und moderiert von dem eloquenten Friedemann Ludwig. In ungewohnter Rolle als Schaffner war Matthias Enkemeier zu sehen und zu hören.
Die recht zahlreichen Zuhörer wurden zu Passagieren, die während der Fahrt mit klassischer und moderner Musik unterhalten wurden von Zhora Sargsyan (Klavier), Atilla Aldemir (Violine, Viola), Friedemann Ludwig (Violoncello) und Jens Josef (Flöte). Die vier Instrumentalisten, beim Musikfest Dozenten der Meisterkurse und in der Musikwelt bekannt, bewiesen sich als Meister ihres Faches. Das perfekte Zusammenspiel zeigte sich schon im ersten Stück „Trois Aquarelles“ für Flöte, Violoncello und Klavier des Franzosen Philippe Gaubert,
Eine seltene Spielanweisung gibt Hindemith in der Solosonate für Viola op. 25/3 für den 4. Satz: „wild, Tonschönheit ist Nebensache“. Atilla Aldemir war der wahre Meister für die Befolgung dieser Anweisung. Von Frankfurt ging die Fahrt weiter nach Wien, wo Mozart mit seinem Türkischen Marsch für Klavier solo unterhielt. In Budapest grüßte Franz Liszt mit seiner Ungarischen Rhapsodie Nr. 8 fis-Moll für Klavier solo. Beide Stücke waren bei Zhora Sargsyan in besten Händen.
Nach längerem Aufenthalt in Budapest mit Pause im Konzert erfreute ein Satz aus dem Duo für Violine und Cello op. 7 von Zoltan Kodaly mit Zigeunerweisen und einem turbulenten Finale. Ein kleiner Umweg führte nach Sofia. Hier steuerte Pancho Vladigerov mit seiner Bulgarischen Rhapsodie „Vardar“ für Violine und Klavier einen schwungvollen Beitrag bei. Die Minimal Music des Türken Hassan Ucarsu aus dem 2. Satz eines Klaviertrios kündigte das Ende an, bevor mit dem 4. Satz aus dem Klaviertrio fis-Moll von Arno Babadschanjan der Schlusspunkt gesetzt wurde. Ein auf sehr hohem Niveau stehendes Programm war mit jubelndem Beifall des Publikums zu Ende.
Gerhard Raßner, July 25, 2018
Violist Atilla Aldemir brings a touch of Berlin to Istanbul
Turkish violinist-violist Atilla Aldemir will perform on Oct. 23 at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul. (Photo courtesy of Atilla Aldemir)
October 21, 2014, Tuesday/ 16:58:42/ ALEXANDRA IVANOFF / BERLIN
On Thursday at Istanbul's Cemal Resit Rey concert Hall (crr), Atilla Aldemir, one of Turkey's top young musicians, will bring a touch of Berlin, his recently adopted city, back to Istanbul.
Aldemir has spent the last year undergoing a trial period for a coveted position in the Konzerthaus orchestra Berlin. On Sept. 1, 2013 he was chosen, out of hundreds of auditionees, to be assistant principal viola. The position required 12 months of intense scrutiny in order to be granted a permanent contract. The reason he was successful will be evident in Thursday evening's program at CRR when he performs a viola concerto by 18th century composer Franz Hoffmeister with a select ensemble of his colleagues from the Konzerthaus Orchestra.
“The first year with a German orchestra appointment is basically a test,” Aldemir told Today's Zaman. “A very tough test! There were 340 applicants for this position initially. Then it was narrowed down to 35, then 2, and then they chose me. I felt so honoured. But then the real work began. First of all, you must prepare all the parts by heart [to prevent making mistakes]. If you make a mistake, you can correct it, but the third time you're out. Secondly, you cannot be late! If you are even five minutes late, you're fined 30 euro. Thirdly, if someone corrects you, you cannot react. And you cannot talk at all during rehearsal. It's German discipline. There are several officers within the orchestra who are watching you. All that was very stressful. But if you succeed, you'll get to enjoy the next 30 years playing with a great orchestra.”
The Konzerthaus Orchestra is, based on the German tiered rating system (using letters A, B, and C), an A level ensemble - only the Berlin Philharmonic has a higher rating of A+. The Konzerthaus Orchestra has the internationally renowned Iván Fischer as its Chief Conductor. At this point in Aldemir's life, he's living his dream. “It's a fantastic atmosphere here,” he says. “I love Maestro Fischer and this orchestra.” But what about all that stress? “It creates a good orchestra!” he exclaims!
Aldemir's very special viola
A graduate of the Mimar Sinan State Conservatory of Music in Istanbul and the Conservatories of Music in Detmold and Essen (Germany), Aldemir was awarded Istanbul's Donizetti Music Award, ”The Year's Best String Performer”, in 2011. Prior to that, he had won several prizes in the Johannes Brahms Competition in Austria – in both violin and viola categories. After ten years of freelance work in Europe, the USA, Israel and Egypt, he was invited to audition for the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin.
On Oct. 23, the Konzerthaus Orchestra, led by its concertmaster Michael Erxleben, will show Istanbul audiences the results of all that German discipline. They will perform Mozart's Symphony in A Major and Bruckner's Quintet in F major for strings, in addition to the Hoffmeister concerto. One of the unusual features of this concert is the instrument that Aldemir will be playing -- a Zanetto Pellegrino viola, made in 1560.
I had the opportunity to hear Aldemir play this 454 year old viola in concert on Oct. 19 in a special “Kiez Konzert” (District Concert), one of a series organized by the Konzerthaus Berlin in various areas of the city. With one of the members of the orchestra's first violin section, Adriana Porteanu, Aldemir performed duos by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Martinu's Three Madrigals and Ahmet Adnan Saygun's Demet (Bouquet) Suite for Violin and Piano, based on Black Sea dances, and arranged for violin and viola by Aldemir himself.
While a program performed by only two people may sound tame on paper, it was in reality a tour de force. All 15 compositions were strenuous tests of agility, ensemble precision and stylistic demands. The live acoustics and ultra-intimate setting of the Schloss Schönhausen, a restored Baroque palace in the Pankow district, provided additional challenges.
Both players met all the challenges with plenty of confidence and energy, flying through hundreds of intricately woven phrases, creating tonal beauty -- especially the lovely serenade with sublime muted fluttering in Martinu's Second Madrigal. The icing on the cake was the voluminous tone of Aldemir's extraordinary viola. His performance on it, in those particular acoustics, was a delicious experience in voluptuous richness coupled with expressive acumen.
“This viola is worth around $2 million dollars,” Aldemir explained. “It's not mine, it's on loan from my former teacher who has been granted access to it by the owners. I recently played it for a special ceremony that celebrated 65 years of the press in Germany - I sat next to the President of Germany, Joachim Gauch, and the Turkish EU Minister, Volkan Bozkır. I played music by Mozart [with colleagues], and President Gauch spoke very eloquently about music and thanked us all by name. I also proposed a pilot program to Minister Bozkır to get Turkish children more involved in music.”
As an educator, Aldemir found sponsorship in Istanbul last year to start the Efes Anadolu Music Academy where he taught scores of young students alongside one of Istanbul's esteemed violinists, Ayla Erduran. That fostered his ambition to undertake similar projects in Berlin. “I want to go to the Turkish Ambassador to discuss designing a teaching program for Turkish children in Berlin. I wish for orchestral principal players to have the opportunity to build bridges between the Turkish community and the classical music community. I think Turks here are still too shy to come to hear classıcal concerts.”
In Berlin, Aldemir continues to distinguish himself in the Konzerthaus' schedule of chamber concerts that are part of a busy season that lasts until the end of June. On November 29, he will team up with two other string colleagues for a trio concert of Beethoven, Martinu, and Schubert. Until then, Aldemir is happy to bring the Konzerthaus -- and his special viola -- to Istanbul to share a touch of Berlin.
Coinciding points of Schubert and Sevki Bey
ISMAIL BAYER" – Franz Schubert is a composer who lived in Vienna in the 19th century. Sevki Bey used to live in the same century in Fatih. Different countries, different cultures, different music styles. However - there are numerous confluences, love and music figuring the most prominently.
Atilla Aldemir - I got to know him with his violin for the first time coincidentally at an event in Düsseldorf. They were like lovers. He had a classical music education and made his name in Europe. So many competitions, awards, and concerts with various orchestras, in various cities and towns. A line between Istanbul and Berlin.
He is assistant principal of the violas in Konzerthaus Orchestra since 2013. In this concert, he has a different function. As soloist, he alternates between Schubert and Şevki Bey. He is in connection with cities, countries, historical periods and musical styles. Resonances coming from the historical depths of the city (Istanbul) where he was born and raised, resonances he carries to his life and classical career in Europe. It is a pure love, a simple enthusiasm he conveys to the audiences. Sometimes he becomes Schubert and sometimes Şevki Bey – as we shared his love with his work.
Opus Amadeus Festival opens with delightful duo
I initially thought that beginning a classical music festival with an unaccompanied string duo would be a disappointing experience, but American violinist Ellen Jewett and Turkish violist/violinist Atilla Aldemir's extraordinary performance on March 7, the first of seven concerts in the second edition of the Opus Amadeus International Chamber Music Festival, confirmed that my reservations were unnecessary.
At the Besiktas Fulya Art Center that evening, their captivating program of selections by seven composers provided a virtuosic show… they each took on a solo piece: Jewett played A. Adnan Saygun's Prelude from the Partita for Solo Violin while Aldemir played Henri Vieuxtemps' Capriccio (Homage to Paganini) for Viola… Aldemir, who is chiefly established as a violinist, displayed a brilliant faculty for the viola with the introspective Vieuxtemps.
Aldemir switched to the violin for two of Henryk Wieniawski's Etude-Caprices for Two Violins, reminiscent of Paganini's infamous caprices. Jewett and Aldemir alternated between melody and accompaniment, with fire and passion.
New to my ears was Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola by early 20th-century Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu. The artists explained from the stage that Martinu had heard the violin/viola duo of Joseph and Lillian Fuchs play the same Mozart duos in the 1940s, and was thus inspired to write his own. The first Madrigal was a moto perpetuo whirlwind; the second was an inspired use of soft tremolos for both instruments which provided intense orchestral color; and the third toyed with one of the well-known Bach solo violin Partitas in a modernistic way before ending in a dancing frenzy.
It was a treat to hear this rare gem by Martinu and the programming, drawn from several centuries of esoteric but fascinating repertoire, was excellent.
“Fascinating sounds from Istanbul” concert with Mikkeli City Orchestra
Vivaldi's Four Seasons hail, in many ways, from another world. Everyone knows the composer and the piece, and there are hundreds of recordings and thousands of violinists trying to do justice to this piece.
Atilla Aldemir won the Mikkeli Special Prize at the Brahms Competition in Austria last autumn and was invited to play with the Mikkeli City Orchestra. Making the decision to perform the Four Seasons, a top-ten classic, must not have been easy – yet there are valid reasons why certain works remain relevant for many centuries; Aldemir proved this beyond any doubt.
Imagination, personality and charisma – these are absolutely necessary to breathe life into a piece that some would say has been played to death. The impossible occurs, and a fresh interpretation is born. As though Atilla Aldemir was born purely to bring the beauty and joy of the music with his audience, the warm-hearted and dynamic virtuoso has played his way back onto the Finnish stages.
Yılın Yaylı Çalgılar Yorumcusu ATİLLA ALDEMİR
...conductor Renchang Fu explained why they started the marathon with Aldemir with these sentences “I had almost 50 concerts with Aldemir. Because he gives the orchestra and me new ideas every time, not monotonous, doesn't bore. In this kind of a marathon, it is very important for the orchestra and the audience, Aldemir has a very good concentration and strong nerves”
Culture Service – Atilla Aldemir, who llived in Vienna and has been continuing his work in Europe, performed Tchaikowsky, Mozart and Paganini's violin concertos on January 31 in Berlin Philharmony Hall at one concert. In this marathon, Berlin Symphony Orchestra accompanied him under the Chinese conductor Renchang. Aldemir said; “This was the second most meaningful and long concert that I gave till today, last year again in this hall, I performed Beethoven, Bruch and Mendelssohn's violin concertos with Berlin Symphony Orchestra where I have been performing as a soloist since 1999. There is a tradition of a marathon like this in Germany and I became a part of this. Audiences and organizers, who invited me to the stage many times, started immediately to talk about the third concert. I will pull out all the stops to include a Turkish composer in the next marathon.”
Furthermore, conductor Renchang Fu explained why they started the marathon with Aldemir with these sentences “I had almost 50 concerts with Aldemir. Because he gives the orchestra and me new ideas every time, not monotonous, doesn't bore. In this kind of a marathon, it is very important for the orchestra and the audience, Aldemir has a very good concentration and strong nerves”
'A BRILLIANT PERFORMANCE BY ALDEMIR'
2 days ago (…) Atilla Aldemir took to the stage in the “Cemal Resit Rey” concert hall in Istanbul with the Devil's Trill Sonata, Op. 1 by Giuseppe Tartini and Edvard Grieg's Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano. The second half of the concert opened with the Märchenbilder by Robert Schumann, followed by Brahms' Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 120. The encores were Tchaikovsky's Waltz and the Hungarian Dance by Brahms.
Aldemir's performance, along with pianist Itamar Golan, who has been working with the renowned musicians of our time for almost two decades both as soloist and as accompanist, was one of the most unforgettable concert experiences at the CRR. The personality of the instruments on which he played, an 1840 J.B. Vuillaume violin and a 1560 Zanetto Peregrino viola, only added another dimension to his artistry.
Many luminaries of the Turkish classical world were in attendance. While Ayla Erduran praised the concert as “grandiose”, Professor Çiğdem Iyicil and Ceyda Uzgören thus expressed their delight: “We listened with great pleasure to each and every note of his exceptional musicality with great pleasure. Aldemir handles both instruments as confidently as he commands the stage; his natural ability to speak to us through the medium of his instrument and his mastery of the program were immediately apparent. Golan's accompaniment demonstrated a singular ability to support and understand Atilla Aldemir's intentions.
An extraordinary talent
Atilla Aldemir, who at the age of five started to play the mandolin, ranks among Turkey's one of the greatest musical talents. At the age of 15, he had his first solo performance with an orchestra. In 1991, he played at a concert given in honor of Pope John Paul II, and subsequently performed with the Sinfonie Orchester Berlin in the Berlin Philharmonic. Aldemir just finished recording his CD “The Contemporary Voice of Turkish Music”, published by Dreyer & Gaido. Aldemir dedicated the album to his teacher Barbara Gorzynska and the great Turkish violinist Ayla Erduran. The famous Ara Güler contributed his talents for the cover photos.
The CD is the result of the first international collaboration between Aldemir and the pianist Sevki Karayel, and features the works of Ahmed Adnan Saygun, Ilhan Usmanbas, Muammer Sun, Fazıl Say and Meliha Doguduyal.
Aldemir eagerly awaits the International Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition to be held in Vienna on September 21, in which extraordinary talents from numerous countries are expected to participate. An interesting anecdote – it is necessary to have a quality instrument before considering participation in such international competitions. Cognizant of this fact, Aldemir turned to the Turkish state for support in acquiring an 1840 „J.B. Vuillaume“, with a value of 100,000€. When he received the reply from the then Ministry of Culture – “That much money just for a piece of wood?“, Aldemir naturally turned to private sponsors. The endeavor was successful, and Aldemir looks forward to competing with such a fantastic instrument.
“I want to kick the perception of elitism out of chamber music. No need for formal clothing.
It's really like listening to a fascinating conversation among a small group of people. It's almost like ordinary group gossip, television chat show chatter or an animated committee meeting. When my neighbor hosts her large family in the flat above me, it's like a chamber music concert: there's a polyphonic rhythm, many tone levels, a rise and fall of tension and resolution.
While an orchestra makes a larger solid collective sound at a distance, a group of three or four gives us a chance to see the real details of music-making up close, blood and sweat, mistakes and moments of perfection. Sometimes funny stuff happens, like somebody's chair collapses, or the music pages fall down. Sometimes the group makes a false start, so they simply start over -- no apologies needed. But usually, things go well and the raw excitement they generate spins magic; the audience gets to witness a one-time miracle, because no two performances are exactly alike. Here are two chamber music occasions this week: one dynamic trio conversation about loss and another quintet that will make its dynamic debut.”
Russian trios and a Turkish tango to commemorate loss
On Jan. 11 at the Süreyya Opera House, violinist Atilla Aldemir, cellist Benyamin Sönmez and pianist Sabri Tulug Tırpan played a concert of deeply affecting trios that were each dedicated to the loss of a friend. Youthful, passionate, a little scrappy around the edges, the trio put their hearts and souls into two Russian masterpieces and a new piece by the pianist.
They started with Trio No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich, a piece in four movements written in 1944, in memory of a close friend who had recently died. In so many ways, it's almost like a textbook of Shostakovich's muscular style echoed in his many symphonies. The musicians illustrated the dramatic tension in the moments of eerie melancholy and those of percussive bombast with vigor and venom. This piece was followed by Tırpan's own Tango, also written to commemorate the death of a friend and colleague, a Russian violinist. For this, Tırpan began inside the piano by quietly plucking the strings before they launched into a bittersweet mix of mourning and a vehement tango that seemed like an attempt to stomp out the feelings of grief.
The final selection was Tchaikovsky's majestic Trio in A minor, a piece that doesn't often get played because it's so challenging. Tchaikovsky himself admitted it was symphonically conceived, and he didn't know if he had succeeded in writing something more intimate. What it demands of the players is drama and endurance: drama because it reflects the agony of the death of a dear friend and endurance because its physical demands include being able to encompass and execute a 50-minute symphony, essentially. The three musicians were up to the task, even if a note or two often slipped here and there -- it didn't matter because they firmly embraced the grand sweep of Tchaikovsky's funereal sorrow and exalted emotion. Their body language mirrored the music's anguished collapse at the final moments, their ethereal unison trailing off into the dust. A few small things could be tweaked: it would be helpful to have the cellist facing more to the audience, as his sound was aimed sideways and often covered by the piano, which could have been half-closed instead of fully open. As this trio refines their fire, we should keep an eye out for them as an up-and-coming ensemble of indomitable interpreters.
THE CONTEMPORARY VOICE OF TURKISH MUSIC
This CD presents works of composers from different periods, who could justly be said to represent .the contemporary voice of Turkish music.. The selection of works for Violin and Piano does justice to the technical peculiarities of each individual work and gives a hearing to Turkish music of the 20th century as a whole.
Contemporary Turkish music has its roots in traditional Turkish music, which reflects a rich culture, from the traditions of the Shamans in central Asia, via the cultures of those areas through which the Turks wandered on their trek to Anatolia, up to the interchanges with Persian and Arabic art after embracing Islam, and with those cultures which came within the sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire. Structurally, the music is monophonic, using very individual scales (makam) and melodies. The intervals used are smaller than whole or semitones. Traditional Turkish music is a combination of classical music (artistic music) and folk music. .Artistic music. is music which uses the texts of the court Divan literature as its basis and was performed at court and in religious circles. Folk music however, is music which is based on folk literature and folklore, and is performed by the ordinary people. Polyphonic modern music has received official recognition in Turkey since the foundation of the Republic, and has found its own identity. During the first years of the Republic, a group of young composers, who became known as the .Turkish Five. and who received their musical training in the cultural centres of Europe, took on the role of advancing new Turkish music.
Their names were Cemal Resit Rey (1904-1985), Hasan Ferit Alnar (1906-1978), Ulvi Cemal Erkin (1906-1972), Ahmed Adnan Saygun (1907-1991) and Necil Kazım Akses (1908-1999). This group created a new art form by combining their own tradition and western techniques and they prepared the way for the next generations of composers.
On this CD we find the work .Demet. by Ahmed Adnan Saygun, in which he, like other composers of his generation, uses mainly traditional elements. The generation of composers which followed the .Turkish Five. had a rather more avant-garde approach. This generation, which is represented on this CD by Ilhan Usmanbaþ, turned its back on traditional notation and used instead 12 tone music, sequences, accidentalness, minimal elements and clusters; instead of exploring the flow of the sound, they explored more its height and density. The generation which followed them tried to include innovations to the traditional methods, and used the principles of Kemal Ilerici.s four tone harmony.
The representative of that generation on this CD is Muammer Sun. By keeping to a certain melody and the language of folksongs they tried to get a wider audience accustomed to a universal music. Later generations have created a new contemporary language for Turkish music by building on the dialectic contradictions of the previous three generations. Meliha Doðuduyal und Fazýl Say are representatives of this contradictory generation. No matter which currents influence the modern composers or what techniques they use, the specific characteristics and national elements of Turkish music are apparent in all of their works.
Most of the younger composers were trained abroad and some of them still live and work outside Turkey. It is a fact that the number of Turkish composers has increased dramatically since 1950. And it can be observed that the new generation have become composers by choice rather than by chance. Some composers, such as the pianist Fazýl Say, are also virtuoso instrumentalists. They are therefore able to play their own works in concert and therefore reach a wider audience. Meliha Doðuduyal, as a Turkish composer living abroad, has all the possibilities for putting into practice the innovations of modern composition. In other words, she offers a resumé of mystical Turkish music. The compilation on this CD presents the creators of a polyphonic, universal music, who experienced a golden age after the formation of the Republic in Turkey. Through their well-balanced and brilliant interpretation, the violinist Atilla Aldemir and the pianist Sevki Karayel, show contemporary Turkish music to its best advantage.
Turkish musicians in Berlin
Optimistic, however, describes three Turkish musicians who live in Berlin, a city where there are eight top-level orchestras. Violinist/violist Atilla Aldemir and French hornist Cenk Sahin work with the Konzerthaus Orchestra and bassoonist Selim Aykal performs regularly with the Deutsche Oper.
On Sept. 1, Aldemir accepted the position of assistant principal violist at the Konzerthaus Orchestra, which performs in their newly restored home venue, Konzerthaus Berlin, in the old eastern sector. “There were initially 340 applicants for this position,” he told me in a post-concert interview. “Then it was narrowed down to 35, then two, then they chose me. I'm overjoyed!”
“The basic difference between what musicians know here and what they know in Turkey is what I refer 'orchestral system',” says. “There's a European way of doing things that is very different from Turkish orchestras.” Aldemir agrees, as he has also played for many years in Germany. Both Aldemir and Aykal return to Istanbul periodically to perform and teach; both also state emphatically the same thing: “Turkey needs to learn to put systems in place. If Turkish musicians want to play abroad, they will be shocked at how different it is. It's extremely disciplined.”