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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's collection of
poems in musical interpretation


What is hard to cover? Fire!

Flame, the monster, will betray

By night its presence, smoke by day.

Hard to hide is love's desire;

However hushed and close it lies,

Love will leap forth from the eyes.

Hardest is a song to hide;

Under bushel 'twill not bide;

Did the poet sing it new,

It has pierced him through and through;

If pranked with pen, his eye approve it,

He would have the whole world love it,

Aloud he reads it joyously

To all - to plague or edify

West-Eastern Divan is a collection of poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe inspired by the poetry of the Persian poet Hafiz. This work inspired the musicians of the ensemble to initiate the project of the same name and to interpret Goethe's Divan musically. The program of the "West-Eastern Divans" includes works of Persian, Azerbaijani traditional music and pieces by German composers of the 16th and 17th centuries. Centuries like Michael Praetorius, Heinrich Schütz and Johann Staden.


A journey of irony, comedy, tragedy and reconciliation
united in one story

The Silk Road played an important role in the development of cultural relations between the peoples of Europe and Asia. Music, stories, religious and philosophical thought accompanied travelers along what was once the most important trade route.
Based on historical events such as the fall of Constantinople and the expulsion of the Jews and Arabs from Spain, this project creates a musical arc between the centers of events, connecting Venice with Istanbul, Granada with Isfahan.


Accompanied by monologues, poetry by Persian poets and music by Claudio Monteverdi, Guillaume Dufay, Tarquinio Merula and Byzantine composers before and after the Islamization of Istanbul, it is a dramaturgically and artistically unique scenic project that is intended to stimulate dialogue between Western and Eastern culture in modern society and to serve as an impulse generator in the context of social developments.


The Elizabethan Age in the Ottoman Empire

Despite a ban on trade under threat of excommunication, English merchants maintained good economic relations with the Ottoman Empire. As a result of Her Majesty's exclusion from the Church, Elizabeth I sought relations with Sultan Murad III and the Ottoman Empire to counter Catholic Europe.  In a letter, Murad III wrote that Islam and Protestantism had "much more in common than with Roman Catholicism, since they both reject idolatry".

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England sent metal melted down from the dismantled roofs and bells of Catholic churches to Istanbul and received gold in return, of almost comparable weight.

This alliance was reflected in the English cultural and musical scene. Among others, in the works of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. This close relationship is musically accompanied in the East Side Story programme with the composers such as John Dowland, Anthony Holbonre, Ali Ufki and Ottoman traditional music.


of the Mugam


The phrases and pauses of a Mugam melody reproduce the unpredictable rhythm of living human speech. This melody would resemble a Gregorian chant if it did not differ from it in its emotional warmth and ornamentation.

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There are seven main mugams of Azerbaijani music, which differ from each other in their originality and musical character. And each of these mugams has its own spectrum of colours. Like an oriental carpet...
The programme features music of the Spanish Renaissance and the seven Azerbaijani mugams.

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