Zeynep Ucbasaran, piano
Anadolu’dan (From Anatolia), Aksak Tartilar íœzerine 12 Prelüd (12 Preludes on Aksak Rhythms), Inci’nin Kitabi (Inci’s Book), Aksak Tartilar íœzerine 10 Taslak (10 Sketches on Aksak Rhythms), Sonatina
Billed as the Bartí³k of Turkish folk music, this CD of piano compositions by Ahmet Saygun lives up to that reference. The pieces are playful, rhythmic, quirkily melodic, fun, and refreshing. I think connecting Saygun to Bartí³k is apt in the scope and source of Saygun’s material but it should by no means cast a shadow over Saygun’s own compositional voice. These pieces are not “Bartí³k-lite” but a wonderful set of miniatures (in length but not in spirit) written in a similar style. Rhythms are at times laid out like a groove and at other times abstracted into spiky punctuations. My favorite works on the disc are the 12 Preludes for their dramatic abstractions and sharp edges as well as the Sonatina since, for some reason, I just always seem to get a kick out of sonatinas. Saygun’s Sonatina expertly compresses bold gestures without making the listener feel short changed. Zeynep íœcbasaran’s technique and expression are perfectly matched to the material.