Sunday, 8.6.2025
7.30 pm

Fazıl Say in Concert


Fazıl Say, piano
Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Willi Zimmermann, violin and direction

For decades now, audiences have been moved by the extraordinary pianistic ability of Fazıl Say, whose concerts are captivating, exciting and inspiring. In Andermatt, this exceptional musician will play piano concertos by Mozart and Shostakovich.

Prices: CHF 160 / 125 / 90 / 65 / 45


Frank Martin:
Pavane couleur du temps for string orchestra

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K. 414

Fazıl Say:
Leopards, op. 103

Dmitri Shostakovich:
Chamber Symphony for strings in c minor, op. 110a
Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 2 in F major, op. 102

About the programme

The relationship between music and politics is complex, because while politics can be expressed explicitly through words, it can also be concealed in music – even instrumental music. And supposedly “neutral” music can also be politicised by the external influences that impinge on it. The man at the heart of today’s concert is Fazıl Say, who is a musician through and through but still never loses sight of the big issues in society and in life. “Politics can’t just be turned on and off like a PlayStation”, he says. “It’s part and parcel of our lives. That’s why we have to speak out about it”. And that he does: as an eloquent musician, as a critic of social injustice in his home country, Turkey, and as a liberal, cosmopolitan free spirit who sometimes rubs people up the wrong way. Say’s own compositions speak a unique language, incorporating influences from Turkey and other cultures into the Western musical tradition. Leopards was inspired by a safari he made. And whoever listens closely can also hear political utterances in his works – in the present case implicitly, by thematising Nature conservation in the music.

The ability to incorporate political messages in music was an art that was mastered by Dmitri Shostakovich, though he was compelled to it when he was repeatedly subjected to intimidation under Stalin in the Soviet Union. His compositions from the 1930s to the 1950s can almost be read as a musical op-ed column on the political events of the time. Shostakovich’s music is informed by a tangible sense of tension – a feeling of grave seriousness and tragedy that might at any moment topple over into the absurd. The best example of this is his Second Piano Concerto, which Fazıl Say is performing in Andermatt on Whit Sunday. Its second movement is deeply melancholic, almost Romantic in mood, and stands in stark contrast to the two outer movements that seem to conjure up an odd mixture of carnival and cavalry. Just how much of this is actually ironic is often difficult to discern.

This Whitsun concert with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra will also feature Shostakovich’s electric Chamber Symphony for Strings in c minor. Fazıl Say will provide a colourful contrast with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12, and the concert will open with Frank Martin’s Pavane couleur du temps for string orchestra.


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