The Pera Ensemble, the recipient of enthusiastic critical reactions on account of its “refined mixture of fragrances and flavours” and “a two-way exploration and enrichment of soundscapes”, takes its name from a district of Istanbul which has been a melting pot of cultures and religions for more than two millennia. This diversity is also reflected in the makeup of the group, where well-known specialists in European historical performance rub creative shoulders with leading representatives of Middle Eastern art music. This cultural adventure, directed by Mehmet C. Yeşilçay, is set on wresting related early music out from behind closed museum doors in order to stimulate strong sensations and emotions.
Offered up on this album is a cultural panoply as presented by Jerusalem. With it the Pera Ensemble brings demonstrations of soundscapes from another time, in which the full exuberance of early Middle Eastern Baroque is mirrored in the care taken over questions regarding sources and instrumentation. Jerusalem, that rendezvous, is the city of peace, despite all the conflicts – and bridges need to be built to span across all the supposed disagreement. Dialogue has always been facilitated by two factors: food and music. Where Eastern cuisine finds plenty of its creative ideas in spices and exotic ingredients, the Pera Ensemble strives to integrate a parallel philosophy into its programmes.
Piyyutim (in Hebrew, naturally), Eastern timbres, the whole mixed into a Baroque framework in sound. Music from Medieval Spain, Baroque music, Sephardic music, Eastern music. All with a zestful Turkish character.