The Artist's Music
Yigit Aydın was born in 1971 in Turkey. He graduated from Ankara State Conservatory at Hacettepe University with degrees BA in musical composition and MA in orchestral conducting. Parallel to his musical education he completed his studies at Middle East Technical University/Ankara with degrees BS in mechanical engineering and thereafter MS in sociology, focusing on contemporary social thought, deconstruction, Orientalism, Colonialism and Nationalism. For the time being he prepares his PhD thesis on the theme “New Turkish Music” at Musicological Institute in Marburg/Germany and lives in Frankfurt am Main.
Through three composition prizes, he received a broader recognition in Turkey. Subsequently his compositions take part in international music festivals in Istanbul and Ankara, performed by leading Turkish orchestras and conductors, and some appeared in CD-recordings. In his compositions he mainly deals with the cultural difference among the western and eastern (musical) domains, endeavoring to problematize the commonly accepted oppositional perspective regarding them and, therefore, the clichés corresponding to this mode of perception. A part of this effort is to consider the extra-European element not merely as coloristic constituent, i.e. a spicy ingredient, in a thoroughly western compositorial attitude, but on the contrary a resource from which principles of composition may flourish. Besides his compositional activities he gives conference talks and publishes articles in Turkish, English and German on New Turkish Music and Classical Turkish Art Music, and specifically about the central-European influence on these two musical spheres.
Notes on the Musma Composition
“Friends of God”
The title refers to some Sufis of Anatolia and the surrounding from the middle ages: In their poems they address God as “friend” and consequently I behold them as friends of God.
My piece deals with two poems, one in Turkish and the other in German. The Turkish text is the hymn “Çalabım bir şar yaratmış” (My God created a town) by Hacı Bayram‐ı Veli (1352‐1430), a Turkish poet and Sufi, founder of a religious order. The German one is by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who is deeply involved with the mystical tradition of Middle East in his work West‐östlicher Divan from which I chose the poem “Phänomen” (Phenomenon). In the framework of West‐östlicher Divan, I consider Goethe’s lyrical self (Ger. lyrisches Ich) as being a Sufi: So that my piece refers specifically to two friends of God, Hacı Bayram and Goethe.
Apart from exploring the lingual sound qualities of Turkish and German side by side – sometimes in a juxtaposition and other times in a confrontation – there are several reasons why I chose these two
poems. Firstly, I am fascinated by the humanly perspective of such poetry in the issue of belief as in the poets’ friendly relationship with God, by the courageous critique of religious conservatism and
intolerance, and by the universal message in their discourses crossing different cultures, religions and times. Secondly, both poems are dealing with a vision of two worlds and their encounter at some place where an intermediate third world or a new identity emerges; moreover, with maturing process of the individual, his passing from different stages of life in a very symbolic manner, all of which constructs a thematic link not only among the two poems, but also with the MusMA IV project. (When the occupation with worlds is concerned, I must add that Goethe is involved with it in a doubled sense which reveals itself in the title of his divan: an involvement with Orient and Occident.)
My piece is of episodic nature in which certain lingual and musical rudiments are continuously recurring and being transformed. In this process, i.e. repetition and accordingly accumulation of compositorial elements all through, the cyclical time conception of the Sufi and her/his collection of mystical skills from one experience to another is of concern. In episodes where Turkish text is heard, a simple, folklike solo melody is confronted with consonantal timbres, as if the noise aspect of the Turkish is amplified. In episodes with German text, pitch qualities dominate with the emphasis on vowels, forming a kind of harmony, actually a smudge of residuals that the melodic movement has left. In the hearth of the piece, where the two languages confront each other and intertwine, chords are even formed reinforcing the choral sound and unfolding the climax of textual perspectives. Two further processes accompany the abovementioned formal‐compositorial stream: Firstly, the vocal ensemble of 12 singers disassembles and reassembles itself continually in choral and soloistic formations such as duets, trios, quartets, sextets, tutti and tutti soli, i.e. groupings from single‐ to quadruple‐choir plus those of solos. Following this transformation, secondly, singers change their disposition on stage several times.
Friends of God can be said to be a piece of temporal and spatial changes, of recurring particles and
accumulating residuals, of human voices and noises, of ceaseless remembering and forgetting… from my perspective, in a manifestation of (bi)lingual‐textual contents and sounds presented within the two mystical poems. The supposed etymological root of the term dervish, a possible synonym to Sufi, reveals this viewpoint directly: migration from one threshold to another, which is though not reserved to her/him but to all of us.