Fazil Say - Alla Turca

Portrait of the turkish pianist and composer

a film by Gösta Courkamp

ZDF/ARTE DigiBETA 42min stereo

Fazil Say, piano
Sertab Erener, voice
Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Ankara

The reputation and international standing of the pianist Fazil Say have developed rapidly. He has mastered the hurdle from child prodigy to an internationally successful star and the French newspaper "Le Figaro" has claimed: "He is not only a brilliant pianist, but he will undoubtedly become one of the great artists of the 21st century."

Unbelievable power and an absolute technical perfection are his distinguishing trademark. Say has a striking head found only seldom in the classical market and he has been blessed with an abundance of talent.

Turkey is approaching Europe and in the other direction Fazil Say can be considered an ambassador for classical music in Turkey. He brings Bach and Beethoven to Anatolia; he composes music in which classical influences, Turkish folk-lore and jazz elements blend together, and with his concerts and his own compositions he fills concert halls and arenas with thousands of listeners - a phenomenon which in this form is hardly imaginable in Europe.

We have followed Fazil Say's invitation to his home country and accompany him for a while - over the Bosporus Bridge to the sound of Bach's Fugue (Bach/Busoni: Fugue BWV 543) and to the captivating sight of the Esma Sultan Palace where he interprets Bach's "Chaconne in D minor".

Say gives an open-air concert for friends - the first movement of Beethoven's "Appassionata" (which is promptly interrupted by the loud chanting of the muezzin); then he becomes the private person again, playing his own personal version of Mozart's "Rondo alla turca" at his home together with a friend, Sertab Erener, the Queen of Turkish and international pop music, who enjoyed a classical singing education.

The path of our film, in which music and views of town and countryside flow correspondingly together, now takes us out of the pulsating metropolis of Istanbul to the sounds of Fazil Say's composition "Black Earth" and through the fantastic scenery of Anatolia to Aspendos.
Finally, here in the Roman amphitheatre on a warm summer's evening, Say's oratorio "Nazim" - a homage to the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet - is performed to an audience of thousands from all walks of life.

A very personal film on the very affable pianist and composer Fazil Say has been created, a man who very frankly and competently gives account on the artistic and private challenges of his life.

One cannot escape the ban of Fazil Say's skill and uncompromising enthusiasm for music and one recognizes indeed that the Orient and the Occident match well together.

Günther Uttendorfer
Chris Rowe

Jan Wichers

Stefan Gagstetter

Ali Yildirim

Organisation Istanbul:
Ömür Kula
Hnade Versat

Sound Mix:
Uli Aumüller

Hanne Kaisik

Editorial Staff ZDF/arte:
Christopher Janssen

Cast & Crew

Gösta Courkamp
Hanne Kaisik