Montreal-based Constantinople Ensemble is a group of musicians who chose the journey, not only geographical, but also historical, cultural, temporal, and inner, as their cornerstone, drawing inspiration from all sources and aiming for distant horizons. To the cynic this vision will sound trite. But unlike so many in the world of contemporary art music , the Constantinople Ensemble under their music director Kiya Tabassian put their music where their mouth is. Their recently-released album In the Footsteps of Rumi on the innovative Glossa label may be predictable in subject matter. But the core ensemble of setar (Persian lute), kanun (Turkish zither), percussion, and baroque violin and viola d'amore is far from predictable. For the exquisite Rumi settings in Persian and Arabic they are joined by Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali in an album that provides a refreshingly astute viewpoint on the over-exposed Rumi . Even further off the predictability scale is the Cons
Does the answer lie here?
One of the pieces that I'm doing is the Schoenberg/Marx brother's tennis match. Who was the person who always wanted to be Schoenberg's student? I can never remember.
No. No. No. The populist. Gershwin! Gershwin, Harpo, Oscar Levant, and Schoenberg used to play tennis every Wednesday. If not Harpo, then Groucho and sometimes Chaplin...blah blah blah. That was the standard foursome. I always understood that John Cage was the ball boy. Is it possible that it's him. Yes, but then I suspect Schoenberg's finger is in the pie there somewhere.
Schoenberg used to apparently carry around, I didn't know this either, he used to travel round with a violin case. People would actually query him, "Arnie, I didn't know you were a fiddler." He was not a fiddler. He had table tennis paddles and a net in the violin case. He was a maniac table tennis player.
Whatever, I bet it wasn't Toscanini.