Ahmed Saygun – Recommended Recordings

Updated June 07, 2018


Ahmed Adnan Saygun, Yunus Emre

Yunus Emre, Naci Özgüç, Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra & Youth Choir, Birgül Su Ariç, Aylin Ateş, Aydin Uştuk, Tevfik Rodos, Dreyer Gaido 11796

The Yunus Emre Oratorio is, certainly for Western ears in search of a grand romantic statement from Saygun, his most important work.

Piano Concertos, Howard Griffiths, Bilkent Symphony, Orchestra, Gülsin Onay (piano), CPO 777 289

Cello Concerto, Viola Concerto, Howard Griffiths, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Tim Hugh (cello), Mirjam Tschopp (viola), CPO 777 290

The Cello Concerto is particularly appealing in its melodiousness and late romantic orchestral exoticisms. The accompanying Viola Concerto is also an intriguing work, if not as immediately accessible as the Cello Concerto. It contains an abundance of marvelous, mysterious murmurings.

Ahmed Adnan Saygun, Complete String Quartets

String Quartets 1–4, Danel Quartet, CPO 999 923

The Quatuor Danel (also redoubtable champions of Mieczysław Weinberg’s quartets) on CPO has given us very fine recordings of the three quartets and the fragments of the unfinished Fourth. Good as those are, wouldn’t it be great if there were also recordings by Turkish musicians (I am thinking of the Borusan Quartet, specifically) of Saygun’s string quartets, seeing that there exists only one of the First Quartet?!?

Symphony no. 4, Violin Concerto, Ari Rasilainen, Rheinland- Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra, Mirjam Tschopp (violin), CPO 777 043

The Fourth Symphony is highly sophisticated, densely rich music that repays, in fact requires, repeated listening. It becomes clear, listening to this and indeed all of Saygun’s brilliantly orchestrated and harmonically complex Symphonies, how the idea of the Turkish Bartók and Hindemith rolled into one, peppered with his county’s indigenous folk influences, can be quite irresistible.

Symphonies nos. 1 & 2, Ari Rasilainen, Rheinland-Pfalz, State Philharmonic Orchestra, CPO 99 819

Symphonies nos. 3 & 5, Ari Rasilainen, Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra, CPO 999 968

Ahmed Adnan Saygun, Piano Music

Piano Works, Kathryn Woodard (piano), Albanay 1168

Piano Works, Zeynep Üçbasaran (piano), Naxos 8 570746

Suite op. 3, Sonata op. 20 (+ Béla Bartók, Sonata no. 2, Rhapsody), Tim Vogler (violin), Jascha Nemtsov (piano), Profil Hänssler 9001

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