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Waltzes with Sultans


  • Chamber Ensemble of London
Dr Emre Aracı

How the Ottomans discovered the music of Europe with Donizetti Pasha.

Hidden musical gems from the inner sanctuaries of the seraglio come to the fore in this highly original and unusual programme featuring waltzes, polkas and marches composed by members of the Ottoman Imperial family, as well as its masters of music resident in the East, including the two famous Italian pashas, Giuseppe Donizetti and Callisto Guatelli.

This was a time when the sultans proceeded in state to their court opera at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul to the strains of Rossini marches and ladies of the harem learned to play the pianoforte on instruments imported from Vienna, Paris and London and were even, at times, serenaded by some of the most famous travelling virtuosi, including Franz Liszt.

Music historian Dr Emre Aracı joins the Chamber Ensemble of London in a concert to introduce and conduct his original string arrangements, selected from this lost world of musical ephemera, to create in the words of Gramophone magazine “an unexpectedly attractive collection”, and in doing so brings back the glories of a vanished and elegant past, which once flourished along the banks of the Bosphorus in the 19th century.

This free concert is co-organized by Yunus Emre Institute London and the Turkish Culture and Information Office in London.

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