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With Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca” at its core, this production encompasses early instances of a fascination with things exotic, an attitude based on the equation of the exotic with the promise of great happiness. European interest in Turkish music can be traced back to as early as the sixteenth century. It was in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, however, that “Turkish” music became really popular — in the “turqueries, ” exotic-sounding passages included in many operas. The album defines the historical point in time at which popular interest in non-European music was aroused for the first time: The perception of the world was no longer limited to Europe. “Alla Turca” presents unusual European translations of “Oriental” music. In Mozart’s famous “Rondo Alla Turca” motif, the lively confusion of exotica seems sort itself out, its pieces falling into place in a “rondo” of the strange and the familiar.
“Powerful sounds from Ivanoff: Shades of baroque, Turkish dervish music and the Orient, never mind the occasional Mozart, make this a disc worth a listen. This is a car accident (of Oriental and Occidental history thrown together), and we all stare at those as we drive by.” (JAM, February 1999)