Nuri Sami Koral
The master's own words..
As is well known, in our country there has been interest in polyphonic music in the last one hundred and forty years. Nevertheless, the period of widespread recognition of polyphonic music after the revolution of the Republic of Turkey can be shown. During the period from constitutional monarchy to republic, Western music remained lonely and with little interest in affiliated circles, and was deliberately kept away from the effort and impetus that would reach the mass audience.
Music was one of the innovations that came after the "Yeniceri" were abolished in 1826. Sultan II Mahmud founded "Saray Band" is known as the first step towards polyphonic music. The disastrous years that befell the country after the Constitutional Revolution of 1908, and the disastrous years that followed, left no positive trend, let alone advances in music. When individual efforts are excluded, general activity cannot be found. Thus the music that could not possibly flourish in the royal circle has long been out of demand among even the most intellectual group.
We, the children of the constitutional monarchy, were guided by the monophonic music around us and the monophonic songs we sang in schools (while boring lessons were included in school programs) and anthems. In the meantime, in the period leading up to the Republic (in 1923) , it was not uncommon for some young people who found their environment inclined to "Western" music to learn from Levantine masters who showed interest but never had the basic knowledge of music, and these Works only made as a novelty.
Since my voice was permissible at a time when “Turkish” music was completely dominant, my teachers have referred to me since I began my studies. The desire to add a second song to the songs we learned and taught and to teach it to my friends despite appeals was the result of my instinct. It is this feeling that my devotion to so many voices led me to walk this path.
At that age, the desire to learn an instrument became an invincible desire for me. Despite the inadmissibility of my city and my environment, I learned how to play the flute with a flute and a method, and I was able to read notes from five keys and learn some “Solfege” knowledge on my own. In my childhood, my occupation with the flute until 1926 helped me learn some of the works and play at my meetings with four or five friends at home, and my little works that I wanted to write for these small groups and that lacked knowledge , helped me start my composing experience. In the meantime, my enthusiasm for diversifying our meetings and learning a string instrument prepared me to take care of the cello. At that time I was in a city in Thrace, far from Istanbul. I thought I knew something when I entered the cello category of the Istanbul Conservatory, which opened four years ago in 1927 after I first studied as a method because this "saz" was unknown and there was no teacher . However, the few friends I met there were people raised by a completely different method and who did not enjoy all of the benefits of being raised under the control of a teacher whose skills were being developed. I quickly realized that I was deprived of good style and knowledge. In fact, Gabriel Fauré's Elégie, which I played confidently at the request of my late teacher Sezâi Assaf, was not at all popular. Now it was necessary to take over everything and start over as if he didn't know anything. I did that too. But what really preoccupied me was the elimination of my lack of harmony knowledge, which I want and strive for. I couldn't see the opportunity to do this myself. Ignorance would be brave, say it is true. My interest in music became methodical and discouraged. I had learned to take every calculated step, and I had learned that such a higher theory couldn't happen on its own. It took me until 1934 to work in this department of the Nature Conservatory and learn harmony, counterpoint, double counterpoint, fugue instrumentation and orchestration. By the way, When I orchestrated a song by my teacher Sezâi Assaf on request for the first time in 1922 and played it at a concert with the orchestra in Istanbul, which was the only one at the time, I courageously took the first step in the field of composition. After three years of hard work, I was now able to join all societies and was in demand in most of the ensembles of Belarusians and Levantines in cinemas, casinos and restaurants at that time when I recognized and deciphered the work. My love for the band started when I was a kid and it still goes on. Because I only found the first very healthy taste in him. With a special study it was possible to get to know all the instruments of a group individually and to learn their chord only in 1931. Since the band arrangements I made the first time went flawlessly, the doors of hope opened for me on this path. Although I continued my intervention, the band of the department I served in my military service helped me develop in the field in 1932, and the more than a hundred arrangements I made for the band helped me gain broad experience and learn a subject that I liked. In 1935 I found that my experience in the field increased significantly when two brass band pieces, which I had prepared at the request of the Governor of Istanbul, were held in the city band. Later in 1937, the first great work I prepared for the Riyaset-i Cumhur Band, the late boss İhsan Künçer, was highly valued by Veli Kanık and they encouraged me to continue. Based on these incentives, the first symphonic band piece I prepared was attributed to the "Reisi Cumhur Library" after it was played repeatedly. The first piano works I wrote in 1934 were presented in a recital by Ömer Refik Yalkaya, the precious pianist of the time, and I was introduced to the public as a composer. These piano pieces with the name "Iki Türkü" are the first pieces to be played in an official concert. With these works my other piano piece called “Iki Türkü und Wiegenlied” will be printed. My first symphonic orchestral works were played in the presidency symphony orchestra in 1938. It started with Dr. Praetorius, and then took part in radio concerts at home and abroad. In the meantime, my works have been seen in many local groups and programs in chamber music concerts. In 1938 I was commissioned to found the music house, which is the Bursa Conservatory. And on the opening day of this institution, of which I was director for three years, PAUL HINDEMITH was one of the high-ranking guests. That intelligent person, who did not forget me because I was introduced by the director of the Istanbul Conservatory in 1934 and received my piano works, saw me there. He remembered immediately and said to me, "I would have been hoping for you anyway." he had paid a compliment. The next time was my second time at university. In 1940 I founded the first children's choir in the official identity of the child protection agency in Istanbul. I ruled for ten years until this choir who sang three to four-part songs, dissolved. Financial impossibilities did not allow any further. Among my students there are also valuable artists of today who grew up with names.
In the years 1943-44 in Ankara, thanks to works played by Mr. Praetorius, I received the compliment of the then President İSMET İNÖNÜ and received the personal recognition award. As a result of this award, I asked to continue my work in Istanbul because the status of my family did not allow me to leave Istanbul. My appointment in Istanbul made my work easier for me through monthly funding until 1952. I am always happy about this interest and compliment. My press life is like a memory that has come to me since my student life. During this time I continue my musical articles for children and adults in various newspapers and magazines.
I worked at the Şişli Terakki High School for 23 years.
In 1954 an orchestral work by me that was examined by ARTHUR HONEGGER was awarded third prize as a result of the competition. Since the national rhythms I used in this work seemed so alien to this great composer, it seemed impossible to be played and, in his opinion, "It's a strong orchestration, but these rhythms are impossible to play" was understood that they were reduced to third place. However, these seem very simple to us as they are the lame rhythms in the character of our music.
In 1956 the Foreign Ministry was commissioned by the Protocol Office to write the national anthem of the new Libyan state. In the meantime, I have also performed the national anthem of the newly founded state of Malaysia, the national anthem of the Jordanian state and the band and orchestra in our country.