Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Kemani Tatyos Eksertzian

Kemani Tatyos Eksertzian was born in Constantinople in 1858. Of Armenian origin, he is recognized as an outstanding personality in the multi-cultural music community—made up mainly of Turks, Greeks, Armenians and Jews—which was based in the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The appellation «Kemani» means violinist, from the Persian word, keman, i.e. bow, which is used by Turks for the violin. He was taught by the famous blind violinist Kemani Sebuh. Tatyos was very well acquainted with the Hamparsum musical notation, a kind of notional script used in transcriptions before the establishment of the pentagram, with additional modulation signs for the rendition of the intervals of Eastern music. He was actively involved in urban musical events and also in those of the ottoman court, which, at that specific period, was home to Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the last Ottoman monarch. Tatyos played the violin in the so-called «sema‘i cafes» and the tavernas of Constantinople which, around the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, served as intimate settings for musical performances, both by day and night.
He was an alcoholic and died poor in 1913 from cirrhosis of the liver. Investigation of the old discography catalogues reveals that Tatyos himself took part in only one recording session, playing Huseyni Saz Sema‘i. But many of his songs and compositions were recorded by established musicians who were his contemporaries, such as Tanburi Cemil Bey, Udi Nevres Bey and others.

His oeuvre consists of instrumental compositions in the forms of the pesrev (overture, prelude) and the saz sema‘i, as well as songs (sark?). They are typified by their melodic originality, stylistic invention—with frequent changes of the makam within the same piece—as well as an intense dialectical relationship between the melody and rhythm. The end result holds the attention of the listener throughout and gives the feeling that, apart from playing the music, Tatyos was playing with the music…This is why the performance of a composition by Tatyos is a real joy for a musician or singer. It is abundantly clear that, as a composer, Tatyos was mindful of the function of music as a means of enjoyment, as, in any case, he experienced it himself, but at the same time he shows total respect for the texture and mores of Classical Ottoman music. It is no accident that his instrumental compositions spread far beyond the bounds of Constantinople and became well-known and extremely popular throughout the Arab Mediterranean.
The enduring value of Tatyos’s work is confirmed by the fact that his compositions have continued to be played from the time he created them until today, that they are well-established in the basic repertoire of musicians and singers and also that they are very well represented in the discography.
The present collection brings together eleven instrumental compositions and twenty nine songs of the seventy two works attributed to Tatyos and is based on a comparative study of various transcriptions in the pentagram, some published,
others not, some printed others in manuscript form. Different versions of the melody appear to be the result of different people writing down a living tradition which, without question, is the work of Tatyos. We note the recording in Byzantine notation of the Kurdili Hicazkar Sark? entitled Sohbetinle hos gecen
eyyam? cana ozlerim in the collection «Ο Ρυθμογράφος» [O Rythmografos] by Agathangelos Kyriazides (Constantinople 1909). All the material which has been collected, together with observations from comparative research, are available to
musicians and musicologists in the Library of En Chordais.

Vassilis Tzortzinis

This article is from
En Chordais (Greece)

Music samples
1. Anastas Leontarides - Karcigar Pesrev
2. Anastas Leontarides - Rast Pesrev
3. Mahur - Kurdilihicazkar Saz semaisi
4. Ussak Sarki - Bu aksam gun batarken gel
5. Derya Turkan- Murat Aydemir - Suzinak Saz Semai
6. Ensemble Kudsi Erguner - Bestenigar Peshrev
7. Ensemble Kudsi Erguner - Bilmen Ki Nedendir, Bana Sen Hor Bakiyousun
8. Ensemble Kudsi Erguner - Ushshak Peshrev
9. Gecmisten Gunumuze Turk Muzigi - Isbank - Kurdili hicazkar pesrevi - Ehl-i askin - Vasilaki
10. Giorgos Bacanos - Kurdilihicazkar Pesrev
11. Huseyni Saz Semai
12. Istanbul Klasik Turk Muzigi Orkestrasi - Kurdilihicazkar Pesrev
13. Mete Aslan - Suzinak Pesrev
14. Richard A. Hagopian - Huseyni Saz-Semai
15. Richard A. Hagopian - Rast Pesrev
16. Serap Caglayan/Mahinur Ozustun - Suzinak Pesrev
17. Udi Hrant - Huseyni saz semai


Kürdilihicazkar Peşrev (Kemani Tatyos Efendi)
Göksel Baktagir (Kanun) - Yurdal Tokcan (Ud). Live from "1002 Nihtes Club" Athens Greece, 3 Febuary 2009.

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