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Classical - Released January 13, 2014 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio

Classical - Released September 30, 2016 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année

Classical - Released November 14, 2011 | naïve classique

Distinctions Choc de Classica
For this CD/DVD combo package from Naïve, Turkish pianist Fazil Say performs Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition; Leos Janácek's Piano Sonata, "1.X.1905"; and Sergey Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat major, filmed in concert by Jean-Pierre Loisil. If the program has an air of quirkiness, it is fitting because Fazil Say has developed a reputation for unpredictability and eccenticity, both in his repertoire and in his interpretations. Say has been hailed in some quarters as a genius, and his fearless reshaping of classic pieces by his own lights has attracted both admirers and critics; it is hard to stay neutral about his playing, which is either idiosyncratic or self-indulgent. The performance of Pictures is quite novel and surprising, even including plucking inside the piano, and one's enjoyment undoubtedly depends on liking Say's extravagant changes of pacing and having a high tolerance for his intrusive humming and grunting. The piano sonatas by Janácek and Prokofiev have somewhat less theatricality and playfulness, perhaps because they are less open to manipulation or "recomposition," though Say's interpretations are still quite free in tempo and phrasing, and his vocalizations persist. Naïve's recording is clear and close-up, capturing all the notes and giving Say realistic presence, for better or worse.

Classical - Released August 19, 2003 | naïve classique

As a pianist, Fazil Say has effectively straddled the worlds of classical music and jazz with successful releases of music by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Ravel, and Bartók under his belt, as well as frequent appearances at major international jazz festivals. As a composer, Say has had numerous performances and commissions by prestigious orchestras to establish his credibility in the classical world, but the character and style of his own music is far more slanted to jazz than classical. He cites Bartók and Stravinsky as significant influences, and it's easy to hear that in his fluency with modern techniques, but the sound of the music itself is often closer to Art Tatum (or Turkish and Middle Eastern folk traditions and popular song) than to the classical side. The piano solos like Black Earth and Paganini Variations and the chamber pieces like the Sonata for violin and piano and Dervish in Manhattan have a fluidity that makes them sound like the transcriptions of improvisations. Say puts a distinctive spin on most of the pieces by using avant-garde techniques such as playing inside the piano and preparing the piano strings. His intent doesn't seem to be avant-garde, though; the effects persuasively broaden the timbres of the piano, often so that it can approximate the sound of traditional folk instruments. The larger scale works, Concerto No. 2, "Silk Road," and Pieces for Piano and Orchestra, are colorful, attractive pieces that frequently have a Middle Eastern flavor. Paganini Variations is an unabashedly jazzy virtuoso piano solo, and Dervish in Manhattan for piano, bass, drums, and ney, a traditional Turkish wind instrument, brings the jazz and Turkish influences together. Say can be heard humming at a very low level on many of the tracks, and his vocalisms create a subtle additional textural layer and seem very much a part of the music rather than a distraction. The music is undeniably modern, but Say's appealing and inventive incorporation of jazz and folk traditions make this an album that should be attractive even to listeners who are not generally fans of new music, and it should certainly interest fans of classical/jazz crossover. Naïve's sound is clean and warmly intimate. The album comes with a bonus DVD of Say performing Black Earth, Paganini Variations, Summertime Fantasy, and Alla Turca Jazz, from a 2006 recital in Japan.

Classical - Released November 25, 2013 | naïve classique


Classical - Released October 22, 2012 | naïve classique

Classical - Released March 16, 2009 | naïve classique

Classical - Released February 20, 2007 | naïve classique


Classical - Released May 7, 2013 | Warner Classics International

Classical - Released October 11, 2005 | naïve classique

Classical - Released September 14, 2004 | naïve classique

Concertos - Released November 19, 1999 | Teldec


Solo Piano - Released September 1, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
Fazil Say, who made his debut on this label with a very, very well-received work on Mozart’s Complete Piano Sonatas, is now turning his attention to Chopin, but a more confidential side of Chopin, much less virtuoso, the Chopin Nocturnes, the almost complete work of which he recorded in the Mozarteum Salzburg in March 2016. An “almost complete work” because the Nocturne in C-Sharp minor Op. 71/1 is missing, most likely due to CD running time restrictions as the total exceeded the limit by just a handful of seconds… Regardless the interpretation is dazzling and almost symphonic, taking these Nocturnes out of the hyper-romantic state of torpor they are so frequently plunged in by musicians. In addition to Chopin’s music, a few of Say’s short-lived grunts can also be heard who, much like Gould (albeit to a lesser extent), sometimes enjoys humming in the background. © SM/Qobuz

Classical - Released September 1, 2017 | Warner Classics


Classical - Released February 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet