Film by Gösta Courkamp
Portrait of the Turkish composer and pianist Fazil Say
Fazil Say, considered as one of the best pianists in the world, does not consider himself a regular pianist but rather a “composing pianist”. In this second film about Fazil Say (the first one, “Alla Turca” was made in 2005) Gösta Courkamp presents this side of the musician and shows us a very intimate portrait of the composer. Obviously Say’s extraordinary pianistic skills are not left out – besides pieces by Beethoven, Mussorgsky and Haydn we also see Fazil Say perform his own work. He rediscovers both ‘known work’ as well as long forgotten pieces. In 2010 both Istanbul and the Ruhr area were European cultural capitals and we used both towns as background for our film. Fazil Say has a special connection with both places – he has lived in Istanbul for a long time and for the past 4 years he has also been artist-in-residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund. These connections allowed Say to compose the “Istanbul Symphony”. It premiered in Dortmund in 2010 and brings the East and the West together and merges classical and folkloric elements of the old and new Istanbul. The film we shot during our stay in the metropole at the Bosporus follows Say during his composing work. We peek over Say’s shoulder while he is at work, we visit the place that inspired him to write his music and we take a close look at the music themes. We also get to know Say’s thoughts (and not only his thoughts on music).
The violin concerto “1001 Nights in a Harem”, specially composed for violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, has classic-occidental and oriental influences. We attend the German premiere in Dortmund and watch the violinist becoming one with the composer and marvel at her incredible energy. Everyone is touched by Say’s music. Say the pianist, Say the composer of a symphony, violin concerto or string quartet - he always gives it his all. He not only plays the music – he lives it. Say yearly performs more than 100 concerts all over the world and although he lives in Istanbul, his real home is music – a parallel world which for him is the real world.? The film shows the nomadic life of an artist in the 21st century. We talk to traveling companions about this special way of life and they give us their personal insight.
We not only meet a pianistic genius but also one of the greatest performers of the 21st century in his own environment - Heimat Musik / At home in music.