I’ve just finished reading my advance copy of Anatolian Days & Nights – A Love Affair with Turkey – Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints. My mind is still reeling with beautiful visions of mermaids and minarets, of Beyoğlu and the Bosporus. Authors Joy E. Stocke and Angie Brenner offer a gorgeous memoir of over 10 years of their travels to exotic and mysterious Turkey. They share snippets of their journeys each, in her own voice, recounting adventures in deep, personal friendships, in kitchens, and in dark, surreal caverns. The history and insight Joy and Angie bring to their story provide a refreshing alternative to the average travel book through their highly descriptive words and intimate experiences. This allows the reader to understand the warm, welcoming people of Turkey in a new light. In many ways their words act as an invitation— a welcoming, outstretched hand, saying, “Next time, why don’t you come with us?”
Yesterday I received a gift copy of Anthony Wilson’s “Seasons – A Song Cycle For Guitar Quartet” featuring Steve Cardenas, Chico Piniero and Julian Lage. I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of attending the live performance at the Met in New York in April last year (2011). I’ve attended many concerts and can honestly say that I’ve never seen a crowd as mesmerized as this one. The air was so thick with the anticipation of the next notes, you could slice it. It seemed as if everyone were holding their collective breath so as not to miss the slightest nuance. On more than one occasion during the concert a tear escaped its home in seeing the pure joy on the faces of the musicians, the audience, and in the music itself. As I listened, I enjoyed that the music was distinctly Anthony Wilson’s composition. I picked up threads here and there which reminded me of “Edu,” one of my favorite pieces on his album “Campo Belo.”
Each guitar was hand-built with ineffable skill by John Monteleone to represent a different season of the year in both appearance and voice. Each of these incredible artists’ voices influenced those of the expertly crafted guitars. This music was, to my ear, like listening to masterful poetry being read aloud by the author and three of his friends, all of whom know the work and the author intimately. They each interpret the poem in their own distinct, subtle ways through inflection, tone, and cadence all the while maintaining the author’s meaning. This rendering of sound, layer upon delicate layer, creates a sublime, personal offering of nature’s beauty translated into one of its highest forms—music.
The DVD documentary, filmed by two-time James Beard Award winner Flow Films/Mark Ryan, traces the history of the guitars themselves and how the music came to be. It also includes the full performance from the Met along with photographic stills and overall art direction by the talented Ian Gittler.
The sound and video quality are superb and deserve to be played on fine equipment.