Review By Stephen Eddins,Allmusic.com,November 2011
In Requiem Without Words, an anguished, deeply felt memorial to victims of the 2003 Istanbul terrorist attacks, the grim tone is entirely appropriate. The two shorter works occasionally call to mind the music of John Adams, but they are colorful, spirited, and evocative, and they don’t wear out their welcome. The composer conducts the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra and the Turkish Ministry of Culture Choir in committed performances. Read complete review
Review By Raymond Tuttle ,Fanfare,September 2011
Kamran Ince (b.1960), born in Montana and raised in Turkey, is probably the only composer to have written a symphony for and about a soccer team (or, as Naxos phrases it, keeping the non-American audience in mind, a “football club”). Galatasaray, founded more than a century ago, is a kind of religion to many of the Turkish people, I gather, so why not write a Galatasaray symphony? The question then becomes, what can this music possibly mean to those of us who are not Turkish, and who might not even be all that excited about soccer? Well, it’s pretty exciting stuff—imagine if John Adams (not John Luther Adams, but the John Adams of Nixon in China fame) had rewritten Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, and you’ll have an idea about what’s
The other big piece on this CD is the Requiem Without Words, composed in the wake of the terrorist bombings in Istanbul in 2003 that killed Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. A wordless Requiem, then, fittingly becomes a non-denominational one. Still, the keening, melismatic vocals of the ethnic singer create the most potent sense of location. Again, after the work’s opening onslaughts, a more elegiac mood (but equally intense) is established, and Ince’s Minimalist writing (but not strictly so—there is more of Adams than of Philip Glass, although both influences are present) comes to the fore. The singers either sing the vowel “ah,” or (in the work’s agitated climax) seemingly random syllables. Some of the work’s more fragile scoring is very pretty, and when it is, one is reminded of the late Henryk Górecki as well. Like the “Galatasaray” Symphony, this is not difficult music to respond to. Our ears are now trained to accept modern music composed in this style, and when a composer wears his heart on his sleeve as openly as Ince does, we tend not to resist. Very effective stuff.
The two shorter works are no less gripping. Red, Hot, Cold, Vibrant, written in 1992 for the California Symphony, is like an industrial fever dream, full of pounding and shrieking, and madly driving rhythms. If inserted in a film, it would be an immediate hit, and I am surprised no on