To: "Ney Lovers Group"
 
From: "Giovanni De Zorzi"
 
Subject:
 
Review on Kudsi Erguner's stage in Venice
April 22-24 2006

 

 
Dear neyzenler all over the world,
 
being myself the little one that organized the stage (thanks to the invaluable contributions of IISMC of "Giorgio Cini" foundation and to the Ethnomusicology Department of the Conservatory of Music "Cesare Pollini" of Padua where ottoman-turkish ney is one of the instruments), I feel "obliged" to answer to Sinan question:
 
"... has anybody on the list been able to attend Kudsi Erguner's ney course in Venice last month, held on April 20-22? I would love to hear a summary review."
 
First of all, the site:
 
San Giorgio Maggiore is an island located in San Marco basin, in front of the centre of the "area marciana" (Piazza San Marco, Palazzo Ducale etc.) so crowded during the central hours of daytime...like Sultanahmet in Istanbul. San Giorgio Maggiore is central, but set apart, silent, and we were more of less the only guests of the island.
 
 
 
The Fondazione "Giorgio Cini" originary was a Benedectine monastery, the whole complex was restyled with its two cloisters structure during the Renaissance by great architect Andrea Palladio. The two cloisters introduce to big open garden with an amphitheatre on the Eastern lagoon: I mention all this because the site, somehow, strongly affected the ambience of the stage: serenity, concentration and beauty.
 
The stage was held in a pavilion in the central garden, birds singing outside, flowers in blossom. After the intense lessons we had pauses in the meadow -very- dejeuner-sur-l'herbe style- where spontaneously developed what in the sufi tradition is called sohbet (suhbat), free convivial talks with a lot of stories and anecdotes from Rumi and all the other great poets/awlia and from all the great musicians Kudsi met through his life.
 
As You know, this music is not "only music" but involves a lot of other plans (philosophy, poetry, culture, religion, etc. etc. ) that were developed during daily life at sufi tekkes (zavias, dargahs, asitanes). There are a lot of levels of comprehension of the stories and the talks we had that still resonates differently for each of us, but in the context of a stage held by an academical ethnomusicological institution like IISMC (Interculturale Institute for Comparative Musical Studies), the practical explication of an important etnomusicological concept as: " learning through impregnation in an oral/aural way in a master disciple (ostad shagird) perspective" it is enough to consider that the stage successful and effective .
 
 
About the music:
 
we practiced in the old way: firstly beating the usul and singing, secondly playing on the ney, thirdly playing with written scores. The tunes practiced at the end of the three days were:
 
Hicaz Sazsemaisi, by Sultan Selim III;
 
Ferahfeza Saz Semaisi by Serif Muhiddin Targan;
 
Saba Saz Semaisi, by Neyzen Aziz Dede;
 
Nihavend Saz Semai, by Hasip Dede.

 
There were really a lot of indications and corrections by M.o Kudsi Erguner to each of us, so that it's difficult to isolate the most striking, but some features stands like major issues and tasks for the whole 2006/7, working and hoping for the next meeting:
 
the sound and the commanding in all the registers (...in this Erguner is overwhelming, from an incredible low and strong kaba register, to ikinci, ucuncu, dorduncu and (tiz) besinci devres) the posture;
 
the doigtées, some completely new to us for some notes;
 
the beating of usul;
 
the transposition of the different tunes in different makamlar (maqamat) on the ney;
 
the proper intonation of the intervals inside a given makam. (Hicaz, for example, that most of us considered as "known");
 
the modulations that the composer made inside a tune from a makam to another makam and how this affects the intervals intonation of a single modulating phrase;
 
the rules for the very difficult art of taksim.
 
All of us will never forget the last session of the stage, with all of us (10) playing changing drones (dem) under the wailing, intense, inspirate, ney of Erguner in the echo of the ample refettorio (refectory) of the desert monastery. No more words.
 
Best wishes and good music and ufles to You all:
 
ishk olsun !
 
giovanni de zorzi Venezia, Italy

 

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