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About the author:
Mehmet Okonsar, pianist, composer, conductor and musicologist is the First Prize Winner at the International Young Virtuosos Competition, Antwerp, Belgium, 1982 and laureate of other prestigious international piano competitions such as the Gina Bachauer, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1991 and J. S. Bach, Paris, France 1989.

Mehmet Okonsar started composing music at the age of 11, his role-models were Arnold Schoenberg and Pierre Boulez.

A copy of Boulez's Third Piano Sonata, found at the library of the Ankara State Conservatory paved the way for his composing track. The French Cultural Centre of Ankara with the comprehensive mediatheque it then possessed, provided Okonsar with overwhelming listening opportunities. Edgar Varese, Pierre Schaeffer, Iannis Xenakis and Olivier Messiaen shaped the musical sensibility of the young Okonsar.

After completing piano studies, he was trained at the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music with one of Belgium's foremost composers of our time ("Grand Prix de Rome", a student of Henri Dutilleux): Madame Jacqueline Fontyn. He has also been coached by Paris Conservatory's famous analysis teacher: Claude Ballif.

The works of Okonsar were, right from the beginning, fearlessly exploring unusual forms and ensembles. During the eigthties atonal Jazz and similar contemporary idioms found in the music of Cecil Taylor, Bill Evans have been an additional influence to the ever-present extended serialism in the work of Okonsar . Other major extra-serialistic influences who shaped the music of Okonsar are K. Penderecki, I. Xenakis and G. Ligeti.

The practice of electronic-music by Ligeti, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Pousseur and others in the sixties created a completely new and modern approach to orchestration. The classical orchestra's resources begun to be thought in terms of "sound envelopes", "filters", "formants" and so on. Mehmet Okonsar followed a similar path in the nineties.

The music of Mehmet Okonsar is highly structured and it is simultaneously inviting and challenging analytical approach.

This complex structural inner-core is presented in the score with a detailed, precise, intricate and refined musical writing (show samples).

Mehmet Okonsar is recipient of the Gold Medal at the "Academie Internationale des Arts Contemporains" of Enghien, Belgium for his compositions.


Six Psalms for Vocal and small orchestra

Authored by Mehmet K. Okonsar
Edition: 1

Jewish tradition, recorded in the Talmud (Talmud, Bava Basra 15a), posits that the Psalms are the work of David (seventy-three Psalms are with David's name), based on the writings of ten ancient psalmists (including Adam and Moses).

Psalms were set to music by many composers. They have often been set as part of a larger work. They also appear in Vespers, including those by Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Vivaldi, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who wrote such settings as part of their responsibilities as church musicians.

Some Psalms are inserted in Requiem compositions, such as Psalm 126 in A German Requiem of Johannes Brahms and Psalms 130 and 23 in John Rutter's Requiem.

Other examples of Psalms in music are by by Orlande de Lassus (1584); Le Roi David by Arthur Honegger (1921); Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky (1930); Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein (1965); Tehillim by Steve Reich (1981).

For this composition I have selected the following Psalms: chapter (i.e. number): 6 (.., "2: O LORD, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in Thy wrath."), 61 (.., "2: Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer."), 150 ("Hallelujah. Praise God in His sanctuary;"), 130 (.. "Out of the depths have I called Thee, O LORD."), 1 ("Happy is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked,") and 122 (.., "I rejoiced when they said unto me: 'Let us go unto the house of the LORD.'").

The musical scale of twelve notes can be subdivided into six (reversible) intervals. They go from half-tone to "tritone". Namely: the (chromatic) half-tone, whole-tone, minor third, major third, perfect fourth and the tritone. All other intervals are inversions of those six.

With each interval, except the chromatic (piece N.1) and the perfect fourth (piece N.6) which expand to the entire twelve note-range, there is a limited number of notes available.

The "tritone" (6 semitones: C to F-sharp) makes for only two notes; the whole-tone gives the pentatonic (5 notes) scale (C - D - E - F-sharp - G-sharp - A-sharp); the minor third results to four notes: C - E-flat - F-sharp - A; the major third: C - E - G-sharp, three notes. By using exclusively the scales resultant of each of these intervals, the music acquires on both horizontal (melodic) and vertical (harmonic) levels a typical "sound-color".

The correlation of the pieces, the intervals and the resulting notes is as follows:
Piece N.1, Psalm Chapter 6: "O LORD, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in Thy wrath.", interval of semitone, all pitches;
Piece N.2, Psalm Chapter 61: "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.", interval of tritone, only two pitches: C and F-sharp;
Piece N.3, Psalm Chapter 150: "Hallelujah. Praise God in His sanctuary;", interval of major third, only three pitches: D - F-sharp - B-flat;
Piece N.4, Psalm Chapter 130: "Out of the depths have I called Thee, O LORD.", interval of minor third, only four pitches: D - F - A-flat - B;
Piece N.5, Psalm Chapter 1: "Happy is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked,", interval of major second, pentatonic scale, five pitches: C - D - E - F-sharp - G-sharp - A-sharp ;
Piece N.6, Psalm Chapter 122: "I rejoiced when they said unto me: 'Let us go unto the house of the LORD.'", interval of perfect fourth, all twelve pitches.

The vocal part is not aimed towards the straightforward understanding of the lyrics by the listener. Traditional prosody rules are not observed. Words, phrases, concepts and principally emotions are deepened with the use of music and the vocal part, even though singing with words, is elaborated as any other instrument. It is best to read and get acquinted with the words before listening to the music.

Publication Date:
1492226130 / 9781492226130
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Music / Printed Music / Vocal

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