MOZART IS BORN AGAIN TONIGHT
I am one of those lucky clovers who had the privilege of seeing one of these spectacular concerts of Mozart Marathon with Fazıl Say. Since these musical notes intend to draw an outline of my deep impression personally, they may owe apologies to the classical music authors for any structural misinterpretation in advance.
Genius Turkish pianist and composer, Fazıl Say, performed a series of concerts including the entire piano sonatas of Mozart between the 9th and 13th of June 2015 in four different venues in Istanbul at 43rd Istanbul Music Festival. I loved the definition of these concert series as a marathon literally. I would, hereby, vocalize my picturesque hearings regarding the final leg at Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Centre that I was able to attend.
Mozart is the golden touch of the heart; the perfect golden ratio of the music and brain. As mostly accepted, his eighteen piano sonatas are the eighteen representative masterpieces that also led the way to his successors of the romantic era.
The prodigy started to compose them by early 1775s (K 279-284) when he was around 18, and advanced till two years prior to his death. Techically, almost all are composed in three movements and sonata form. They all reflect the affectionate and inspirational character of Mozart. Mozart‘s perceiving the world deeply in a purity through the eyes of a child can simply be heard in these sonatas. Perhaps, this makes him exceptional where simplicity is the utmost unreachable jewel in music and art.
Eric Blom, the Swedish-British music critic in the first half of 1900s, defined Mozart‘s taste as the right thing at the right time at the right length. For me, this is exactly the very same for Say‘s virtuosity and his own scores. Perfectly placed harmony of the structure and form is certainly attributable to their math oriented intelligent minds. Side by side to an arithmetically developed brain, keeping a child’s straight eyes in viewing the world is probably the enigma of aligning all these melodic fragments in such an ingenuity.
Both Say and Mozart started to play the piano at the age of 4. Both composed their first work at very young ages. What one may presume is that Mozart‘s supremely calculated and indisputably touchstone music finds its way for centuries via the hands of extraordinary, revolutionary musicians as Say.
13th of June at Lütfi Kırdar was introduced with Fantasia in C minor K 475 which was followed by Sonata No 14 in C minor K 457. This is an ideal order given K 475’s breath like sort of a prelude to K 457. We learn from Aydın Büke prior to the concert that Say refers this fantasy an opera orchestra as if it is to be performed by a different group of instruments together. From my point, Say started the evening with these seemingly freely constructed but tightly demanding fantasy and echoed it in all broader orchestral forms to be heard. K 457, composed in 1784 autumn, was not the only one to make the deepest influence on Mozart‘s successors, e.g. Beethoven‘s Pathétique sonata, it also might have paved the way to Schubert‘s Erlkönig according to Say. Since these two C minor pieces are the only piano sonatas that Mozart wrote in the minor key, they make us think that these are very personal works of him. Hence, once again a very good preference for the opening and let the audience internalize the atmosphere.
After then, the evening continued with Sonata No 9 D Major K 311 which was probably written together with K 309 and K 310 in 1777. I was curiously wondering this well-known jokingly cadence at the end that would definitely lead us to believe that this is the end of the section, but playfully continued with two additional measures likely a motif for the development part. My curiosity ended with the well-balanced playing of Say so that I could engage in the piece at once. Rondeau section, like a piano concerto itself, has earmarks of Haydn‘s string quartet that provided the melody with the national anthems of Germany and Austria for Say. You may also wish to listen to K 311 once again including all these remarks.
After the interval, we had the pleasure of listening to Sonata No 11 in A Major K331 ”Alla Turca”. It is perhaps the most outstanding one with a prominent melody to imitate all the trumpets, Turkish drums and other instruments in one instrument. Say‘s playing the first movement inspired by a German folk song was impeccable. That was beyond playing a music, more a heavenly chat with the piano. Menuetto and Alla Turca parts were so cheerfully played that we, as the listeners, started to become impatient for the final one, Alla Turca Jazz Op 5b, by Fazıl Say which was applaused all aloud at the end.
Sonata No 13 in B-flat Major K 333 is known as a long and difficult-to-play work of Mozart. Say turned it into a musical feast with his soft but sensitive and vivid touches. We also learn from Aydın Büke that Say mentions that one as the Magic Flute due to its first movement, Andante grazioso.
There are some unreachable instants that happen only once in a lifetime. I can heartily say that we witnessed one of them. In other words, Mozart was born again that night. It is my pleasure to inform all the readers that Say has recorded Mozart‘s complete series of piano sonatas that will be released this fall (2015). Finally, I would like to add Blom one thing, the right thing at the right time at the right length via the right hands!