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
One commenter said to NL, "You're more full of shit than an overflowing septic tank", and didn't stop there. I express myself rather differently, but this past year I decided to go after Lebrecht, just a matter of speaking truth to power. I had enough and I can be relentless. You can bet I will be relentless when such as Lebrecht daily inflict damage on an art close to my heart since I was five, which makes six decades. I don't think I'll be on the coming Honours List, but much, much better, he banned me. I'm honoured but a trifle baffled, for there is a horde of other commenters who go after him regularly and, as above, not with the formality of language and argument I'm accustomed to using. I think he said I am "spammed out" (which suggests he doesn't have a clue what that term means) because I did indeed do what I say above -- over a period of time, I let no unmitigated piffle pass without a corrective and a statement of just what is going on here.
Yet it makes no difference. I just about wigged out when he wrote a few days ago that he'd been working with an orchestra on a Mahler symphony! Anyone who's read his book on Mahler will know what I'm talking about. How does this happen? Power, the power of a freelance writer, some of whom are very good, but others hardly so because they make their income by writing anything whatsoever and, like the tabloid papers, cultivating contacts who co-operate in return for guaranteed coverage always positive. I do believe this is what is termed a 'hack'. Another egregious example is Duchen's interviews cum restaurant reviews in Amati Magazine. Oh the sycophancy! If the world had not gone insane these past few years, the era of post-education, NL might now be well-placed as music critic of the Daily Mirror or News of the World. At the heart of this comment is the observation that freelance writers are a large part of the general problem. Almost anything Lebrecht or Duchen, et al, write has a quid pro quo behind it. Thence comes their network of contacts, the real source of their power, and I'm damned if I know what to do about it. I am happy I got banned though -- a pretty sure indication my comments were hitting home, even if to no avail.