Elgar in Turkey

The English Composer’s Visit to Istanbul and Izmir

Elgar in Turkey

“Glorious sunrise, & the minarets of Stamboul began to come thro the mist - wonderful! wonderful!” wrote Sir Edward Elgar in his diary on the day he arrived in Istanbul on 25 September 1905. Over a century later, music historian Dr Emre Aracı traces this unique journey to Istanbul and Izmir with the aid of Elgar’s diary, where he finds Elgar at a recital in Therapia and rediscovers the composer in a solo piano piece aptly entitled In Smyrna.

Publication Year: 2014
Number of pages: 106
ISBN: 978-605-4642-26-7

5 Introduction

9 1905

15 An unexpected invitation

18 London

21 From Charing Cross to Brindisi on board the Indian Mail train

25 Corfu

28 From Patras to Athens

32 Dinner on board HMS Bulwark         

34 Colourful characters

39 Towards Istanbul

40 The shepherd on Lemnos

43 A diplomatic crisis

44 At Tchanak (Çanakkale)

46 Accident on the Austrian-Lloyd

48 First lights of Stamboul - "wonderful! wonderful!"

51 Confusion at the Port of Galata

53 Pera Palas

55 “Providence is kinder to Moslems than to Xtians!”

59 Call to prayer at the Grand Bazaar and Topkapı Palace

61 The ritual of taking Turkish coffee

62 Street dogs of Istanbul

65 Oxford in Istanbul

68 The reception which never took place

70 Hôtel d'Angleterre (Petala) Therapia

74 Elgar's concert in Therapia

78 Farewell to Istanbul

80 Izmir

82 The Caravan Bridge

85 A visit to the whirling dervishes

87 Time to raise anchor

89 In Smyrna

90 The long wait in Patras

94 Brindisi, Bologna, Milan...

98 Dover

100 “Back to this dreary civilization”

102 “My dear ones all well & safe”