: Mesud Cemil Bey Kurdilihicazkar Peshrev

29-03-2006, 13:41
this is one of my favourite turkish recordings of all time.

its an mp3 I got from a CD review on rootsworld.com
the CD is a Mesut Cemil compilation on Goldenhord Records. (just google the term "mesut cemil" and you'll find it).

this is what the website says about this track: Kürdilîhicazkâr Peşrev, Vasilaki Efendi (1845-1907) Kahire, Şark Musikisi Kongresi, 1932. Arşiv Kayıt, H.2.C7 ve H.2.C77.

very interesting info isn't it? recorded at the cairo eastern music congress. this is starting to seem like the most important event in the recent history of eastern music.

back to the track itself. it's in marvellous technical quality considering the age of the recording. (thankfully, it hasn't been butchered to eliminate the noise which isn't annoying at all).

as for the playing: what I believe to be the cleanest most beautifully produced tanbur tone in history. I dare anybody to come up with a tanbur recording such as this one, that instills you with the deepest melancholy and yearning simply with the first five notes. Not to mention the intense vibrato (shaking the whole thing, as I was surprized to learn later).

I repeat again: there won't be another mesut cemil bey any time soon. (to our misfortune)

I hope the recording is of use to the members.

Viel Spass


29-03-2006, 14:05
Thank you very much for the valuable recording.

Have you ever read about Mesut's 1st encounter with Clarinetist Shukru Tuner?

29-03-2006, 14:08
I haven't read it in any detail, all I remember was something about Mesut Cemil Bey being very impressed with this tattered soldier (as I recall), and his taksimlar with an old beat up clarinet.

Bringing up shukru bey's name is working up my appetite again.

29-03-2006, 14:14
do you rank his teacher (Refik bey) in comparison?

29-03-2006, 14:22
Though I'm not qualified to judge (considering I know zilch about this stuff, and bearing in mind that I've only heard a single taksim by this man), I'ld say that technically speaking, Refik bey is also up there, but there is a difference in style, I mean, Refik bey is a great composer, and his huzzam semai is perhaps the most "turkish" piece I have ever heard, however, Mesut Cemil's musical sense is a bit different, I mean, the way he handles the musical sentence, it's like a philosopher mixed with a poet or something. As I said earlier, the first bar in the peshrev is instant melancholy, sort of like sitting in a park watching the winter winds make off with what is left of the automn leaves. (an experience I have not had the pleasure of, considering I live in beirut, where there are no parks).

I know I haven't given a direct answer, but this is as much as I can do given the limited scope of my musical knowledge.

29-03-2006, 17:41
This is amazing to know that Mesut Cemil attended and recorded that this important conference is amazing. The 1932 conf. is remarkably important in the history of contemporary Arabic music, since many efforts of standarization have taken place to unify terminologies and usages across the Arab world.

Perphaps Najib can tell us more about that.

So composer of this Pesrev is Vasilaki Efendi (1845-1907), the name is Greek, do we know anything about him?

29-03-2006, 17:47
Since we know little about his great man, I have cut and pasted the information from the Goldenhorn site on his biography and music importance for archival purposes. Please add pieces and/or more info is this is needed.


Mesut Cemil (1902-1963)
Notes by Ercment G. Aksoy,
Director of Golden Horn Heritage Series


Mesut Ekrem Cemil was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1902. He was the son of the legendary Tanbur Cemil Bey. Mesut Cemil learned basic kemene (a three stringed Turkish violin) techniques from his father but never took any tanbur (a fretted, long necked lute) lessons from him. At the age of 14, immediately following his father's death, Mesut Cemil started taking tanbur lessons from Kadi Fuat Efendi and Tanbur Refik Fersan who were both pupils of Tanbur Cemil Bey. Few years later Mesut Cemil joined the Eastern Musical Society and attended Dervish convents of Yenikapi. Later he met Neyzen Emin Dede of the Galata Mevlevi Convent and took lessons from a well known musicologist Suphi Ezgi Bey.

Mesut Cemil Bey attended law school but did not complete it. In 1921 he went to Germany and studied cello under Hugo Becker and returned to Turkey after three years. He started teaching music in high schools and joined Istanbul Radio in 1926 as an announcer. Mesut Cemil stayed with the Turkish State Radios and later rose to the rank of director of Turkish and Western Music and eventually became the General Director of Ankara Radio.

In 1932 Mesut Cemil Bey represented Turkey in the Cairo Eastern Music Congress with Rauf Yekta Bey and started to be considered as one of the utmost tanbur players and interpreters of Turkish classical music. Mesut Cemil Bey founded an all-male ensemble ("Unison Erkekler Korosu") with whom he gave several concerts and recorded a number of records. He was criticized by conservatives but did not concede from his clean, plain (as opposed to ornate) style. Mesut Cemil accompanied the now famous religious cantor Kni Karaca and together they performed for the first time some wonderful examples of religious and classical repertoire. He also accompanied Mnir Nurettin Seluk in his concerts and recorded many records with him. Later he established a mixed chorus at the Ankara Radio where he prepared classical music programs. In 1951 he moved to Istanbul and founded the Istanbul Classical Music Chorus. This classical chorus performed weekly 45-minute programs. Many pieces were performed for the first time by this ensemble. It became a school for many young and talented musicians providing an opportunity for some to shine such as Necdet Yasar, Niyaz Sayin and others. This ensemble performed many pieces for the first time. Mesut Cemil Bey also worked in Baghdad Conservatory with his friend Cevdet Çagla and represented Turkey in several festivals in Europe. He died in Istanbul on September 31, 1963.
His Significance

Mesut Cemil Bey was an incredibly talented individual excelling in everything he did. He was a virtuoso tanbur player and according to some perhaps achieved the same level as his father. He was am excellent, concert quality cello player. He was also very good on kemene, lavta (fretted ud), ud, violin, viola, baglama and other folk instruments of Turkish music. He was an unsurpassed chorus director whose interpretative style had become an example to some of the following famous directors (such as Nevzat Atlig.) Mesut Cemil was also an ethnomusicologist reviving some classical pieces and interpreting them for the first time. This intellectual man was also an exceptional writer and public speaker. He authored a book and several hundred articles regarding various subjects of Turkish classical music. Mesut Cemil Bey touched so many people in so many different ways.

Mesut Cemil Bey significantly influenced the interpretation of vocal and instrumental Turkish classical music. This music suffers from the lack of low-pitched instruments. His father Tanbur Cemil Bey was the first to introduce the cello and the bowed tanbur into Turkish music and Mesut Cemil continued to use the cello masterfully in concerts and in his classical ensembles. Mesut Cemil Bey's tanbur style both carries marks of his father's style but at the same time departs from it significantly. We see the same masterful interpretation of makams with appropriate modulations and rich melodic lining, but we do not see his father's agitated, rapid and at times almost frantic playing (with the possible exception of some of his very early recordings such as the selections 1 and 2 on Volume 1). His exposition of the makam is succinct, making masterly use of ornamentation and glissendo to bring out the characteristics of each note and modulations to demonstrate the connection of a given makam to other makams. Mesut Cemil's style is characterized by deliberate fewer strokes with the wider side of the plectrum, bringing out the resonance of the tanbur fully. Mesut Cemil Bey combined the classical style which he most likely learned from Suphi Ezgi with "arpma" technique using the ring finger masterfully.

Mesut Cemil also used the yellow strings of the tanbur to produce richer and fuller sounds. He was also influenced by the folk style of baglama playing and used techniques similar to the glissendo found in folk music. In his taksims during his mature years Mesut Cemil emphasized single notes, reaching a very refined, almost philosophical level (e.g. mstear, tahirbuselik taksims).

Mesut Cemil Bey's recordings are invaluable not only because of his unsurpassed virtuosity but,more importantly, because they reflect his personal interpretation of a given makam. His interpretations of scored classical instrumental works with 2 or 3 other instruments are beautifully melodic, romantic and free from unnecessary ornamentation. In these radio recordings Mesut Cemil Bey was usually accompanied by his best friends, great kemene player Rusen Kam and violinist Cevdet Çagla as well as other talented musicians such as Vecihe Daryal, Sadi Isilay, Cevdet Kozanoglu and in some recordings Yorgo Bacanos.

Mesut Cemil Bey liked long prolonged drone sounds in his cello playing (e.g. suzidil fasil). Drone sounds staying on the same tone bring rich low-pitched background to instrumental music providing something of a tension and giving it an exciting character. Mesut Cemil's interpretative style appeared to be searching for a "horizontal" harmony suitable for Turkish music also evidenced by his invention and use of group taksims ("beraber taksim"). In these taksims musicians sequentially or simultaneously generate a sense of communication exploring the limits of a given makam and generating an artistic intimacy. He was fond of joining a taksim with long drone sounds thereby creating a tension, especially towards the karar.

As a chorus director Mesut Cemil was very precise and careful and at the same time wonderfully melodic. With the exception of a few records made with the "Unison Male Chorus" he did not allow the use of percussion instruments, a style of conducting and interpretation which was later passed on to Nevzat Atlig who also came under criticism for not using percussion instruments. According to his critics this led to a loss of the rhythmic structures in Ottoman compositions. Nevertheless, Mesut Cemil tried to compensate for this loss by the use of ud and kanun (zither) in a rhythmically enhanced way. He established beautiful harmony using low-pitched instruments such as the cello and ud. On a more fundamental level, one can question the authenticity and structural suitability of chorus genre to essentially monophonic Turkish music altogether. The debates on these issues, however, do not change the fact that Mesut Cemil was the chorus director and his performances with choruses are the most beautiful, romantic and carefully nuanced examples of this genre departing dramatically from old style of singing called "gaygayli okuyus."

Until Mesut Cemil Bey, Mevlevi ayins were only performed in Mevlevi convents and religious gatherings. Later he helped commercially record an ayin (with percussion instruments) and mevlut (the first LP recorded in Turkey sung by Kni Karaca) and also performed on State Radios of secular Turkey which helped this most artistic form of classical repertoire be enjoyed by wider audience.

During this time, in contrast to its earlier somewhat negative bias against Turkish classical music, Turkish state radios, under the watchful eye of Mesut Cemil, played an important role in educating musicians and disseminating Turkish classical and folk music. As previously mentioned Mesut Cemil was a very impressive orator almost always announcing his own programs and reading the lyrics majestically. He had great influence on other musicians. To be scolded or praised by Mesut Cemil Bey meant something. In order to earn his approval, musicians prepared and tried hard to create good opening or passing taksims. He is known to leave an important meeting to find out which musician was performing a taksim barely audible. If he was unable to meet the performer he would leave a note like the well known one written to his friend Rusen Kam congratulating him for a wonderful passing taksim. Mesut Cemil Bey set the standard or rather he became the standard to which musicians sought very hard to conform. In short, Mesut Cemil Bey, with his impeccable taste, musical and occupational authority (as director of Turkish radio) provided an atmosphere for good music. He provided musicians a context which became almost void after he passed away.

His prominent works

His "Semai in Nihavent" is probably Mesut Cemil's most famous composition. In addition to this beautiful semai, a short longa (dance piece) in makam sehnaz and a few pretty songs are known. Perhaps because of his impatient nature, Mesut Cemil was not a prolific composer of scored pieces. He did however, create a large number of outstanding spontaneous improvisations (taksims) and performed beautiful interpretations of scored classical pieces. He authored an exceptionally well-written book on the life of his father Tanbur Cemil Bey and the musical environment of the time and many articles on different subjects of classical music.

In presenting the selections we were constrained by the sound quality of available recordings. Among technically acceptable recordings we tried to present a selection to capture diverse aspects of Mesut Cemil's art. We also sought to include a large selection of makams. Not counting many modulations in taksims the selections contain the following makams: Acemkrdi, Bestenigr, Gerdaniye, Hicaz, Hicazkr, Hisarbuselik, Hseyni, Isfahan, Krdilhicazkr, Mahur, Mstear, Neva, Nihavent, Nikriz, Rehavi, Segh, Sultanyegh, Suzidil, Sznk, Sedd-i araban, Sehnaz, Tahir, Tahirbuselik and Ussak.

We would like to express our gratitude to Walter Z. Feldman, Abraham Marcus and Abby Temeltas for generous assistance.

29-03-2006, 21:20
Here is a taksim in makam Rast played by Mesut Cemil Bey, and, for the sake of comparison, a taksim each by Tanburi Cemil Bey and Refik Fersan.

30-03-2006, 16:16
I'ld say that Mesut Bey's taksim could be considered a bit more traditional than Rafik bey, even though Refik bey is the older player. Mesut Cemil is simply presenting his understanding of Suznak, with immaculate playing and beautiful lines.

As for Refik Bey, this is the recording I had heard earlier, and it is actually the only Taksim of his I have heard (and along with his huzzam Semai recorded with is wife on kemence, the only recordings I have heard of him), but it pretty much illustrates what I said about him being foremost a composer (in addition to his virtuosity). I mean, the way he weaves the melodies, the dynamics, and the ornaments, you can immediately see the artistic conception and imagination of a composer. Not to mention that the taksim itself is quite imaginative in structure, and in my opinion more innovative than Mesut Cemil. (though innovation is a completely different matter than how "good" a taksim is).

Cemil Bey is a subject I am not going to touch.

30-03-2006, 16:29
here's a subject I am going to touch.

guys I am honoured to be amongst you!

30-03-2006, 19:41
It is we who are honoured to have you among us, as I'm sure all the participants in this thread agree.

as for my remarks, I don't have any previous knowledge, and I have zero experience with turkish music, I just took a quick listen to what our friend had posted, and thought I'd philosophize about it, considering it would be rude to let the post go by without a reply, especially when, as in this case, a reply was expected.

as for now, shammir kmamak, wi ghtos bil mawdoo3, we need you in this discussion.

27-04-2006, 22:00
Today I received the CD 3amr mentions in his post starting this thread. It is actually the first volume of three dedicated to the works of Mesut Cemil - I must look out for the other volumes. Very beautiful music and I want to share two songs with you. The first is a Hisarbuselik Sarki composed by Tanburi Mustafa Cavus (d.1745) and performed by the Tarihi Trk Musikisi Korosu (dir. Mesut Cemil). The other sample is the only existing recording of Mesut Cemil singing himself: the Sarki "Ben sana mecbur olmusum gel yavrucagim" composed by Dellalzade Ismail Efendi (1797-1869), preceded by a Tahir Taksim. This was sung at the Cairo Eastern Music Conference in 1932.

28-04-2006, 12:40
This is some of the best archive material available in the markets!

28-04-2006, 14:16
I did say this man is incredible, did anybody notice the tanbur tone in the tahir taksim before the song?

thanks a great deal for these, (I hope to one day be able to buy them myself)

28-04-2006, 18:24
Thanks a lot Paul.
I was unable to listen to the second one you put. Is it in MP3 format? I don't think so.

The composer, Dellalzade Ismail Efendi is of course a close student to Dede Efendi!

I also attach the cover of the CD, since on this thread we have 3 tracks from it already.

28-04-2006, 19:10
about the second file, the file extension is missing at the end, just rename it and add .mp3 at the end, should work then I suppose.

Anton Efendi
28-04-2006, 21:23
Indeed it does work if you do that. I love that Tahir sarki. I have it on the Cemil Bey CD, sung by Hafiz Asir, who was just incredible. The Kemani Reza Tahir Buselik Pesrev is really beautiful, specifically the Cemil Bey version.

By the way, the last bit on that track, that is cut off, after the Tahir sarki, is the introduction of a gorgeous Beyati sarki by (Hamamizade) Dede Efendi called Karsidan Yar Gule Gule. You can hear it here: http://www.turkishmusic.org/cgi-bin/t4.pl?t/tsm_secmeleri/bayati/288/14.ra

The music can be read here: http://neyzen.com/images/notalar/beyati/karsidan_yar_gule_gule.gif

As I've mentioned before, this site: http://www.turkishmusic.org/index5.html has a set of incredibly beautiful Beyati sarkilar (under "Bayati Selected Songs"), among other things.

It is interesting to hear hooking the Tahir sarki to the Dede Efendi sarki on the recording you posted. In fact, now that I think about it, the Dede Efendi sarki actually sounds more like Tahir than a Beyati (esp. the phrases where it goes up to the tiz cargah).

28-04-2006, 21:37
Thanks a lot Paul.
I was unable to listen to the second one you put. Is it in MP3 format? I don't think so.

I'm sorry. It seems there's a maximum length for filenames (I didn't know that till today) and the name I have given to this file has been simply too long. In future I'll refrain from trying to put all available information in the name of the file itself ;-) And thank you, 3amr, for having given the very simple solution on how to listen to the file.

28-04-2006, 23:37
Can you please explain the two makams.


Anton Efendi
29-04-2006, 01:44
Unlike makam Ussak, both Tahir and Beyati derive from the Neva (as opposed to the Dugah). However, the seyir of the Beyati and the Tahir are very different. Beyati starts from the Neva (and at times from the Cargah and the Dugah). Tahir starts from the Muhayyer, descends to Neva and ascends to the Tiz Cargah, which is the characteristic phrase I singled out in the Dede Efendi Beyati Sarki (and which is the phrase that made me think of the Tahir), before descending again to the Muhayyer and Gerdaniye. Goes up again to the Tiz Cargah, and descends to Huseyni and Cargah down to Rast, and then back up to the Cargah before closing on the Dugah.

It is worth noting that the Meyan Hane of makam Beyati also starts from the Muhayyer and can touch on the Nym Sumbule before hitting the Tiz Cargah, and then descending, touching on the Nym Acem and closing on the Dugah. So that actually can explain the phrase in the Dede Beyati sarki that reminded me of the Tahir phrase. For example, see the third Hane in the Seyfettin Osmanoglu Pesrev: http://neyzen.com/images/notalar/beyati/beyati_p_seyfettin_osmanoglu2.gif

Also, to show the differences in the seyir or Beyati and Tahir, see where the Dede Efendi sarki starts (on the Neva): http://neyzen.com/images/notalar/beyati/karsidan_yar_gule_gule.gif

And compare it to the first Hane of this Tahir Saz Semai by Huseyn Sadettin Arel (starting at the Muhayyer): http://neyzen.com/images/notalar/tahir/tahir_ss_saadettin_arel1.gif

Or compare it even to the first Hane in the Tahir Buselik Saz Semai of Kemani Riza Efendi, whom I alluded to before (I'm attaching the piece as well for you to hear): http://neyzen.com/images/notalar/tahir/tahir_buselik/tahirbuselik_ss_kemani_riza1.gif

29-04-2006, 10:28
Anton Efendi,

I have bad news for you, you are going to be asked a lot of questions!