Conservative progressivism : Hasan Ferid Alnar and symbolic power in the Turkish music revolution
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This study examines the reciprocity of the musical relationship between the Turkish and Austrian nation-states during the first half of the twentieth century through analysis of interactions between Turkish Five composer Hasan Ferid Alnar and his Austrian teacher Joseph Marx. Through the lens of Pierre Bourdieu’s Practice Theory and its concepts of habitus, fields of cultural production, and symbolic capital, I argue that the force driving this relationship was the strategic acquisition of symbolic capital by both parties within the context of their respective fields of music culture and power. By analyzing letters, documents, and newspaper articles found in Turkish and Austrian archives, I contend that the conservative composer Joseph Marx sought to bolster his powerful position in inter-war Austria through his activities as musical advisor in Turkey. Alnar, under the influence of his earlier teacher Hüseyin Saadeddin Arel, sought to enhance his positionality in the revolutionary early Turkish Republic as a progressive composer of Western-style music while preserving a space for Turkish Art Music marked by Republican vi modernizers as backward and anti-revolutionary. From the perspective of disability theory, I locate a discourse of musical sickness and health in the Turkish Republican field of music’s division into vigorous, national Turkish Folk and sick, non-national Turkish Art Music by reconsidering nationalist ideologue Ziya Gökalp’s role in the Turkish Music Revolution. Through musical analysis of Alnar’s Kanun Concerto and examination of its reception, I argue that Alnar’s association with Turkish Art Music caused him to be “musically disabled” in the context of the Turkish Folk/Art Music divide. This study throws new light on the transnational role of music in negotiating power and identity in the Turkish and Austrian nation-states, and challenges the prevailing model of unidirectional flow of cultural capital from Europe to Turkey during the twentieth century. Examination of Alnar’s dual musical habitus complicates the conventional narrative used to describe the Turkish Five group of composers. Analysis of the Kanun Concerto and its encoded agency challenges Pierre Bourdieu’s characterization of cultural products as reactions to but not shapers of culture. Finally, re-considering the Turkish Folk/Art Music divide in the field of Turkish music-cultural production in terms of disability theory and challenging Ziya Gökalp’s supremacy as theoretician of the Turkish music revolution bring new understanding to the Turkish Music Revolution.