Vladimir Tarnopolski
for large ensemble


Commissioned by Ensemble Modern and Siemens Arts Foundation

Author's comments

“Eastanbul” for large ensemble was commissioned for the project “INTO…”.  Its aim is to attempt to grasp the essence of the city by music.  The title of the piece is derivative of the name of the city Istanbul, where I composed this piece. I came to Istanbul, having in mind the theme of ancient Europe for my composition. I have read substantially about Turkey's desire to join Europe and so have also conceived about a piece with the title “Westanbul”. However, the real Istanbul has changed my approach cardinally, the fascination of this city is just such, that this is the domain of the real East, hence I have moved away from my previous ideas towards the title "Eastanbul".  

This city presents an interface between east and west – not only in terms of geography, but also in terms of culture. For me presents a mass of all sorts of contradictions – ethnic, cultural, social and political. I was astonished by the enormous energy of this city, resembling a seething vat of lava. Even tectonically Istanbul is located within an active seismic zone and the experts prognosticate powerful earthquakes in decades ahead.

The sound landscape of Istanbul consists of the calls of numerous muezzins, who are heard simultaneously from all around. This idea of a simultaneous variation of similar melodic lines and similar rhythmical figures has laid the groundwork for my piece.