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Mesut Özgen — Troubadour
Release date : Aug. 04, 2004
Label : Golden Horn Productions, Inc. / Golden Horn Records



  1. Variations on an Anatolian Folk Song by Carlo Domeniconi (9:40)
  2. Gigue (from Suite for Guitar) by Anthony Newman (3:57)
  3. Shenandoah by Robert Beaser (10:29)
  4. Misionera by Fernando Bustamante, Arranged by Jorge Morel (2:57)
  5. Fantaisie Hongroise op.65, no.1 by Johann Kaspar Mertz (8:17)
  6. Sonata: Ondas do Mar de Vigo by Christopher Pratorius Introducción y Danza (Sonata 1st movement) (6:39)
  7. Sonata: Ondas do Mar de Vigo by Christopher Pratorius Canto (Sonata 2nd movement) (6:04)
  8. Sonata: Ondas do Mar de Vigo by Christopher Pratorius Estudio (Sonata 3rd movement) (5:21)


"Özgen’s playing is stunningly versatile and expressive throughout."

Acoustic Guitar

"...a shining example of this guitarist's great talent."

Guitar Review

"Mesut Özgen is a highly accomplished and exciting player; he gets the most out of the music he performs... The phrasing is immaculate and his technical capabilities are considerable."

Classical Guitar

"This CD is an impressive debut for a guitarist who clearly has much to say."



Variations on an Anatolian Folk Song
by Carlo Domeniconi (b. 1947)

This is one of Carlo Domeniconi’s most successful works based on Turkish folk music. The theme employed is a famous folk song written by Asik Veysel (1894-1973), an influential Turkish folk musician. Domeniconi’s variations reflect the quasi-improvisatory character of this kind of music very well, especially in the final section of the piece. Asik Veysel is one of the most renowned representatives of the “asik” tradition in the 20th century, which dates back to the 15th century in Anatolia. The Asik (a kind of troubadour), singing poetry (mostly their own) and playing the saz , has become the voice of common people, expressing their relationship with their land; their loves, inner conflicts, and expectations--generally depicting all aspects of rural life. Veysel's poetry is metrical, using predominantly 8- and 11-syllable meters. His melodic patterns, trills, and particular emphases result in a unique musical character. Mesut Özgen

Gigue by Anthony Newman (b. 1941)
The Gigue is part of a larger suite, neo-baroque in style [commissioned by luthier Thomas Humphrey and written for Benjamin Verdery]. My system of harmony is to use older background harmonic motions and then fill them in with added notes, which either spice the harmony, or all right replace them. This is how music gradually progressed through Brahms and Wagner, and later Stravinsky. Besides the "spiked" harmonies, rhythmic substitutes abound, much more so than in the works of Bach, they are more like raga substitutes. Anthony Newman

Although there is a brilliant coda, Gigue basically is a binary work, with the second half twice as long as the first half. The piece is written in Newman’s system of substitute harmonies, and features series of short rhythmic cells that when put together give the effect of a Hindu raga (certain material recurs out of order in the second section). Benjamin Verdery

Shenandoah by Robert Beaser (b. 1954)
The original tune “Shenandoah” was popular on American sailing vessels in early New England. Later the regular cavalry carried the song west. Shenandoah is the name of an Indian chief who lived along the Missouri River. The singer portrays a man who has fallen in love with the chief 's daughter. It is thought that the song originated with the loggers or rivermen who taught it to sailors in port. The sailors took the song to sea and used it as a shanty, or work song, while loading cargo.

Beaser’s work is not a set of variations, but comprises various sections in an arch-like form: beginning quietly, building up the tension gradually, and ending softly. This arch-like emotional process is thus the composer’s main request of the performer, reflecting the musical equivalent of the song’s story from his point of view. The original tune can be heard sometimes in part, and sometimes complete, in arpeggio, chord, and tremolo sections on the trebles or bass, and sometimes disguised in a contrapuntal texture. When I worked with Beaser in preparation for the premiere performance, he played all transitions from section to section on the piano for me in order to demonstrate the overall structure. He also gave me a lot of room not only to discover the most effective fingering, timbre, and idiomatic positions, but also to explore various textures, especially in chordal sections, by providing as many as ten notes and allowing me to choose the ones that I felt most appropriate to the particular context. During the several months of work, Eliott Fisk provided many valuable fingering suggestions and added beautiful harmonics in the lyrical sections. Mesut Özgen

Fantaisie Hongroise op.65, no.1
by Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856)

Although a large part of Mertz’s compositional output comprises works based on operatic airs, Fantaisie Hongroise (Hungarian Fantasy) from 3 Morceaux is one of his original works, which, together with Bardenlänge (Bard Sounds) op.13, reflects the renewed interest in troubadour tradition in the early part of the nineteenth century. The Fantasy begins with a series of short sections in different moods and tempos from majestic, passionate, brilliant to sad, melancholic, and ends with a Hungarian gypsy dance-like finale. Because Mertz used an eight-string guitar, I had to transpose several bass notes an octave higher to fit them into the range of my six-string guitar. Mesut Özgen

Misionera by Fernando Bustamante
Bustamante’s Misionera in the style of polca Litoraleña (Paraguaya) is a typical example of música popular, which refers traditionally to music of the people, including folk and traditional music as well as urban music. This solo guitar arrangement from the piano, voice, and guitar version by Argentine guitarist and composer Jorge Morel reflects Morel’s excellent idiomatic writing for guitar. Mesut Özgen

"Misionera" refers to a female from the district of Misiones (where Augustin Barrios was born) in southern Paraguay/northern Argentina. It is a standard work for Paraguayan harpists. Jorge Morel's arrangement in a minor is based on an earlier arrangement by his teacher, Pablo Escobar, a Paraguayan classical guitarist who lived in Buenos Aires and founded a music conservatory. Rico Stover

Sonata: Ondas do Mar de Vigo
by Christopher Pratorius (b. 1974)

Sonata: Ondas do Mar de Vigo is my first large guitar piece. It is based on a Spanish song by the medieval troubadour Martin Codax, from Portugal. The song is classified as a Cantiga de Amigo or “friendship song.” The genre is characterized by the longing of a young woman for a lover who has gone. Typically, the "friend" is supposed to meet her by the sea and never arrives. The title of the song used as the basis for this piece is “Waves of the Sea of Vigo.” I began with an in depth analysis of both the poetry and the melody. It is a strophic song, with four verses. I decided to mirror that structure with four movements. In one movement, the structure of the whole poem, with its subtle repetitions and variations, was the basis. In another, the structure of the melody was used. The other movements were freely composed, but still work within the context of the larger form. My idea was to do a set of structural variations that takes into account every aspect of the original, not to reproduce similar but slightly different copies, but to project the structure of the original song in a way that would be quite unexpected. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Mesut, not only for encouraging me to write this piece, but also for being a genuine partner. He tackled a difficult piece, analyzed it for hours so he could understand my musical logic, brought passion and artistry to it, and also contributed many original ideas to the project. The most obvious contribution is an arpeggiation pattern that he suggested for the last movement, which has added a great deal of excitement to the only hearing of the original melody. Thank you, Mesut!
Christopher Pratorius

For more music excerpts from tracks go to Audio Samples