City Orchestra Warms the Heart on a Winter's Night

Bahacan Kurtuluş plays the Double Bass, with Lale Efendiev & Benan Ayvaz on Cellos Bahacan Kurtuluş plays the Double Bass, with Lale Efendiev & Benan Ayvaz on Cellos Photo © Gerard Cooke
Monday, 13 February 2017 09:44


Review of Muğla Metropolitan Municipality Orchestra Concert at Fethiye Culture Centre

On 20th January 2017; a cool but dry winter's evening, Fethiye's Cultural Centre (FBKM) was host to Muğla Metropolitan Municipality Orchestra (Muğla Büyükşehir Belediyesi Orkestrası) and their New Year classical concert. 

Readers may have been lucky enough to have heard this orchestra play at the Fethiye Classical Music Festival in Karagözler last September, and again at FBKM in December.

The evening started with the string section of the orchestra – a 21-strong group – taking to the stage. They were followed by their conductor (şef in Turkish), Münif Akalın. Mr Akalın welcomed the audience and introduced the musicians.

The concert began with Mozart's Divertimento in D Major. Perhaps this is one of Mozart's less familiar compositions, however it was a perfect start to the evening. Its three movements evoked a feeling of warmth and welcome, as if the audience and orchestra were sitting together around an open fire.

The next selection could not have been more contrasting. The Turkish contemporary classical composer Turgay Erdener's work, Mi’den Dört Bölüm (Four Movements on E), was performed. The mood of this piece was dark, foreboding, melancholic and with a sense of peril. The previous warmth in the auditorium was cut with a chill.

This darker tone was continued with the work of another contemporary classical Turkish composer; Server Acim's Fırat Teması Üzerine Metamorfoz. This piece carried a sense of tension, danger, excitement and increased pace, and also felt at times like a meandering journey. 

Yine Bir Gülnihal written by Hammamizade İsmail Dede Efendi was next on the bill. Dede Efendi (1778-1846) lived and wrote in the Ottoman period, and is considered one of the greatest Turkish composers. The song has been further popularised by the Turkish rock musician Barış Manço. Translated to English as Again, a Sapling of a Rose, this tune has a swelling, romantic melody.

It was now time for the orchestra's wind and percussion musicians to join their colleagues; filling the stage with a total of 36 performers.

The repertoire returned to Mozart for the final two numbers; the overture to his opera, Abduction from the Seragilo, and the instantly recognisable 40th Symphony.

The finale – the Allegro Assai movement of this symphony - was upbeat and energetic, and one could see the pure enjoyment on the faces of some musicians. At the concert's close, the audience treated the orchestra to a well-deserved standing ovation. The musicians returned in kind with an encore and reprise of this final movement.

The quality of the whole show was excellent and I am only sad that there were not more people present to experience it.

Although the event was free of charge, the auditorium at FBKM was only one-third full. Also, despite the large overseas community in Fethiye, I believe that I was the only foreigner present. Music is of course a universal language, and we are very lucky to have this quality of talent on our doorstep. I hope that when this orchestra returns to Fethiye, that a much larger crowd will be here to greet them.

This article was first published in Land of Lights on 13th February 2017.

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