Click here to return to the main site.

Classical Music Review

Cover Image

Toker Messing Around... With the Classics ;)


Composer: Various
Performed by: Hakan A. Toker
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 January 2019

Navona Records release Hakan A. Toker's Toker Messing Around... With the Classics ;), a fun, but incredible well realised collection of classic tunes reworked and revamped for a modern audience...

For fans of classical music, Hakan A. Toker has something a little special for you. Toker Messing Around... With the Classics ;) is a lovingly crafted homage to some of the most beloved classical pieces, along with a number of other "classic" modern popular pieces.

Beethoven's 'Für Elise' (retitled 'Elise’s Got The Blues') sits comfortably beside Paul Desmond's 'Take Five' (renamed 'Take Five or More'). Some pieces are reworked into jazz tracks, others into traditional 16th century Renaissance pieces, while some are presented with a Middle Eastern flavour. Each is truly unique and breathes new life into some old classics.

Talking about the project Toker said: "Music is a game we play… It is to be respected, but not to be taken too seriously. It belongs to all of us. It is ours to create and recreate, to mess around with, as long as we give credit".

Toker's love of the original material is obvious. This is an artist who knows his craft and is comfortable enough to break down music that everyone is familiar with and then build it up to give us something unexpected yet still familiar.

The album contains 10 pieces (56 min, 22 sec) and while I enjoyed them all, I have to admit to having a particular fondness for 'When My Ma’ Sings To Me' (based on Antonín Dvořák 'Songs My Mother Taught Me'). Nat Simon's 1953 novelty song 'Istanbul (Not Constantinople)' - retitled 'Istanbul Not Quite Constantinople' - is wonderfully reworked by Toker into a Henry Mancini jazz piece. And while I'm on the subject of Mancini, I was surprised that Toker's version of 'Moon River' (called 'Moon River Invention' here) didn't employ the harpsichord

A beautifully realised and refreshing album that is a joy from start to finish.

Track listing:

Arranger & pianist Hakan A. Toker

Ludwig Van Beethoven
01 - Elise’s Got The Blues

Eric Satie
02 - Gnossienne Czardas

Henry Mancini
03 - Moon River Invention

Hubert Giraud
04 - Sous le Ciel de Versailles
Hakan A. Toker (harpsichord)

Johann Sebastian Bach
05 - Toccata & Fugue in Blue
Hakan Çetinkaya (drums)

Paul Desmond
06 - Take Five or More
Gürkan Özkan (tabla)

Antonín Dvořák
07 - When My Ma’ Sings To Me
Mehmet Sönmez (double bass), Hakan Çetinkaya (drums)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
08 - Rondo Turchissimo
Aykut Sütoğlu (clarinet in B flat), Vedat Dinletir (zurna), Bilal Kızıllar (kanun), Tolga Karaslan (ud), Mehmet Sönmez (double bass) İsmail Darıcı, Hakan Çetinkaya (hand percussions)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
09 - Rondo Alla Latino
Ömer Dağaşan, Enes Nalkıran (trumpets in B flat). Begüm Gökmen (french horn in F), Burak Dursun (trombone), Ertan Şahin (tuba), İsmail Darıcı (hand percussion), Hakan Çetinkaya (drums)

Nat Simon
10 - Istanbul Not Quite Constantinople
Aykut Sütoğlu (clarinet in B flat), Bilal Kızıllar (kanun), Tolga Karaslan (ud), Mehmet Sönmez (double bass), İsmail Darıcı (hand percussion)


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Digital album
iTunes GB
Digital album
Digital album