Kamran Ince’s ‘Sardis’ symphony debuts at Temple of Artemis

The ancient city of Sardis, previously known as Lydia, with its monumental remains of the Temple of Artemis, lies approximately 60 kilometers east of izmir and near the border of the Bozdailar (Boz Mountains) in the Manisa province.
Traveling through the dusty corridor between izmir and Sardis, which is full of cement factories and fruit farms, there is virtually nothing to suggest that the area was previously home to several different civilizations, one city of which is still buried beneath the SardisLydia location. At this point, only the Templeand’s imposing twin standing columns and surrounding stone pillars, a sampling of enormous building blocks, and remains of a small church located here hint at what was before.
Crawford H. Greenewalt, a University of California-based archaeologist, devoted much of his life and career to the excavation and preservation of the 3,000-year-old Temple of Artemis. So devoted was he to the ancient history of Anatolia that when he came across a recording of composer Kamran inceand’s and”The Fall of Constantinople,and” he wrote to ince to ask him if heand’d like to write a piece for Sardis.
That project came to fruition in 2000, but it was never performed in Sardis. Instead, inceand’s Symphony No. 4 and”Sardisand” made its premiere in Prague that year. But on June 17, Greenewaltand’s original dream came true: The work was performed by the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, conducted by ince, in front of the magnificent ruins for an audience of over 1,000 people, some of whom came from many different parts of the world to hear this music and honor the memory of Greenewalt, who died in 2012.
Nicholas Cahill, a professor at the University of Wisconsin and excavation director at Sardis since 1979, spoke to the audience at the start of the concert. and”This event was commissioned by Clifford Greenewalt, who deeply loved this area of Turkey, to mark the 50th anniversary of the SardisLydia excavations. He had also commissioned Kamran inceand’s opera andlsquoThe Judgment of Midas,and’ which also reflected his intense interest in antiquity. Greenewalt spent the last 30 years of his life in Sardis.and”
Musicologist Atei Orga had written an eloquent description of Sardis in 2002, which was quoted in the concert program: and”… Archaic Sardis (present-day Sart) — east of modern izmir, northeast of Ephesus — reaches back to the late Bronze Age (circa 1500-1400 BC). During the first millennium BC, it flourished as the capital of Lydia, the political and cultural pulse of Western Asia Minor, home to and’squadronsand’ of warrior horsemen and charioteers and’dreadful to beholdand’ (Aeschylus), the gold of its wealth panned and refined from the waters of the broad Hermus plain and the narrower Pactolus valley. Around 546 BC … it was besieged and plundered by the Persians … Later it surrendered to Alexander the Great. In 133 BC, Sardis became part of the Roman Province of Asia. A pulpit of early Christianity, one of the and’Seven Churches in Asiaand’ addressed by St. John … as well as a major Jewish seat of the Diaspora, the city was taken by the Arabs in 716 before passing into the hands of Turks around the 11th century. Sardisand’ bustle and aroma, the sounds and patterns, the babble of its earliest tongues, the rhythms and cadences of its first music, may be silent. But its broken splendors and faded fragments, its terracotta, mosaics and bronzes, the grandiose images that are its past, the ghosts trembling in the heat and fireflies of its apricot sunsets, still resonate. A place where campaigns set out and journeys rested.and”
The event on June 17 was engineered by the efforts of clarinetist Nusret ispir, who serves as program manager for the Bilkent Symphony. He had heard about inceand’s and”Sardisand” Symphony so he called Cahill, who told him about Greenewaltand’s idea and learned that Greenewalt had been an ardent fan of Bilkent Symphony. Upon his visit to Sardis, ispir recounted to Todayand’s Zaman: and”When I looked at the setting sun on the Temple of Artemis, I felt we should perform this work in the location that inspired it.and”
h2 Symphony rings in the hillsh2 After the overture to Handeland’s and”Royal Fireworks Suiteand” (originally written to be performed outdoors) which featured echoing interplay between the wind and brass sections that rang majestically in the hills around the temple, inceand’s five-part Symphony No. 4 and”Sardisand” began with and”Gediz andcayiand” (Hurmus River). Here, he created a haunting textural flow with high sustained strings punctuated by repeated single notes from a xylophone, and wordless background singing by members of the string sections.
and”Nekropoland” (Necropolis)onjured up deep tragedies, attributed to the nearby thousand rock-cut Lydian tombs, with a heavy funeral march interrupted by shrieks of grief. and”Akropoland” (Acropolis), the craggy mountain top that defines the high outline of Sardis, was painted with potent, heroic strokes and squealing reeds (two saxophones among them) and”Bin Tepeand” (Thousand Hills), the low limestone ridge described by Greenewalt as and”strange lunar landscapeand” and its burial ground for the Lydian kings were serio-comic gestures that suggested a colorful and mysterious emotional terrain.
and”Bozdaiiand” (Mount Tmolus) used a plaintive oboe solo as an idandeacutee fixandeacute, followed by vociferous orchestral attacks, and the return of the wordless singing within the orchestra within more sustained paragraphs.
inceand’s remarkable sonic portrait resonated the atmosphere Orga had described, passionately evoking this locationand’s ancient voices with masterly attention to its extraordinary history. Using recurring, repeated single notes from plucked strings and percussion throughout, he suggested (according to this listener)rystalline but heavy tears falling from heaven upon this treasured site.
The concert also included five short arias from inceand’s and”The Judgment of Midasand” sung by mezzo-soprano Judith Rajk, and Ottorino Respighiand’s orchestral arrangements of three chorale preludes by J.S. Bach as a moving finale to a memorable occasion.

Composer Kamran ince

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman