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Can can!

img  Tobias

As anyone will readily testify who has listened to it just the slightest bit, old music can sometimes appear more modern than contemporary compositions. It would seem then, that the best way to spice up a program of 20th century pieces would be to revert to the sounds of many hundreds of years ago. One of todays most appraised patrons of new music, Toros Can, agrees - and he has taken action.

Can was born in Turkey and it would be easy to qualify his career as having remained in the shadows of his famous compatriote (and by some considered the world's best current piano player, if such a claim weren't so redicuolous) Fazil Say. After all, while Can's albums have been greeted by professional music magazine's and a select crowd of fans alike, he has never reached the popular heights of the man German daily "Die Welt" simply called "Wonderboy". Still, the two are miles apart and every comparison must remain empty and without true meaning. It is true that Say is not an enemy of the present and his works as a composer and soundtrack-sculptor have even gained some momentum over the recent years. But in their hearts, these two master performers remain children of different eras. While Say has mostly remained true to the Classical repertoire (and especially to his beloved Mozart), Can is pinned to the innovators of the genre - and even to 12-tone music , which has all but diappeared from today's concert stages. Be it George Crumb, whom even insiders will not always be familiar with, or Hindemith and Ligeti - his recordings have been met with applause and prizes. And not only is his catalogue modern - his thinking and presentation is, too. On his webpage, there is an abundance of information on his own person, as well as a lot of useful links to modern contemporary music resources and a cool 12-tone matrix generator, which helps you compose in this technique.

Quite obviously, his repertoire hasn't exactly got him straight to the tv screens or your local news paper. Things might now change, however, as Can has turned backwards and forwards at the same time. His latest recording, again on excellent French label "l'empreinte digitale", is dedicated to Henry Purcell, who spent his relatively short life at the end of the 17th Century as an organist at the Chapel Royal (among many other duties). While Purcells is easily reduced to his short, but incredible opera "Dido and Aeneas", it would not be out of place considering him to be one Baroque's finest composers and his works are slowly finding the merrit they deserve. "Suites & Grounds" is the name of Can's take on some of the man's pieces for key-instruments and even though he may not be the first to tackle them with the piano instead of the original cembalo, his rendition must be one of the most interesting. Not only are these tracks rarely played and most welcome for discovery - they are performed by an artist who has made a name for himself by moving his audience with music said to be cold and sterile. As he takes on Purcell, he is up for an entirely new challenge: Presenting old music as if it were fresh and just composed an instant ago.

Toros Can has done the right thing in many ways, but most importantly he has given the public the chance to discover himself in a new light. Maybe by luring them into his world with the help of Purcell will open their ears for all the contemporary treasures he's got hidden up his sleeve - and sometimes those strange and foreign modern pieces can unexpectedly sound emotional and familiar.

Homepage: Toros Can
Homepage: Note 1 Distribution
Homepage: Fazil Say
Homepage: Short biography of Henry Purcell

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