Chamber Symphony


“I composed the Chamber Symphony in 2015 and it is entirely inspired by Turkish music. This 20 minute-long composition dwells on the complexities of modern day Turkey as well as a certain introspection, where I attempt to convey the story with rhythm and time signatures. The time signature of the first movement is the 7/8 “devr-i hindi” which is widely used in Turkish music of old. The middle section of the first movement is much slower, inspired by classical palace music in the hecaz makam and hints at a certain nostalgia for “old Istanbul.” However, the movement reverts back to and ends with the 7/8 archaic rhythm.

The second movement is calm and quiet and it is here that I particularly wanted to underline the need for romanticism in our age. The final movement is a very fast-paced dance. It no longer exists, but Istanbul’s old gypsy neighbourhood of Sulukule housed places of dance and entertainment; and this final movement incorporates all the energetic and effervescent elements of Turkish-Roma music and is to be played in the Balkan style.”

(Fazıl Say)


I Introduction
II Nocturne
III Finale


Str. (5 · 4 · 4 · 3 · 1)


  • Tags: Symphony
  • Opus No: 62
  • Duration: 21 minutes
  • Year of Composition: 2015
  • Commissioned by: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
  • Word Premiere Date: April 11, 2015
  • World Premiere Location: New York, NY (USA) Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium - Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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