The Cello in the Non-Western World

This was the title of a talk I gave for the performance class at IU Southeast (where I currently teach) last Tuesday, 02 February 2011.  The short description given by Erich Stem, who had invited me to give the presentation, stated “present[ing] music for the cello and performance approaches with works representing different cultures” which was essentially what the lecture/performance was.

I really want to blog more about this issue when I get a chance and would have done so sooner but was sidetracked by some personal family issues and then the new blogging direction (if you’ve noticed the last few blog posts, you’ll know what I mean).

Some of the issues I discussed were very much related to things I mentioned in yesterday’s post regarding Charles Murray and the general lacunae found in orthodox conservatory music history training while the rest deal tangentially about another set of issues that I (and several others) have talked about in various contexts, but which is summarized in an interview I did some time ago.

Continue reading “The Cello in the Non-Western World”

Ottoman Cello Suites

This is a project I’d been thinking about for some months now but just haven’t had the time to get around to for various reasons.  With the recent publication of Eric Siblin’s The Cello Suites as well as the general lacunae in conservatory Music History education regarding the music in portions of Europe during the Arabic, Byzantine, and especially the Ottoman Empire, I thought the new year might as well be the time to start.

It’s been nearly a year since I starting seriously considering doing solo recitals again.  One of the ideas I had back then was to do a program of just Ottoman compositions.  Over the past few months of reading and research I’m finding good structural parallels between the Bach cello suites and what are ostensibly called “suites” in Ottoman music (fasıl) and I thought that it might be an interesting experiment to take an Ottoman fasıl and give a solo cello performance of it.  There are any number of Ottoman pieces that I just absolutely adore, but working from an outsider’s perspective [of Ottoman music] makes it difficult to decide how to negotiate a number of the issues that come from such a project.

I don’t have the time to sort through (or even list) some of these issues in this post, but I think I will be using my blog as a sounding board for them as well as just a place to document some of my solutions as good or as bad as they may be.