by Cenk Ergün
Instrumentation: Bass flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, violin, viola, cello, and any number of improvisers on any instruments
Nasreddin Hoca is a folk figure who is believed to have lived in Turkey in the 13th century. He is known for his funny stories in which he comes up with witty responses to conflicts he is confronted with, almost always conveying a lesson. One day Nasreddin's friends ask him if he knows how to play the saz. Though he doesn't know how, he doesn't admit to this, and says "Sure, I'm a virtuoso." So he picks up the saz, and places his left hand on the fret-board and starts strumming the same note over and over again. After a while his friends get wary and ask him "Nasreddin, everyone else moves their fingers back and forth on the instrument, playing different notes, how come you keep strumming the same one over and over again?" Nasreddin says "Everyone else moves their fingers around looking for this one note I'm playing. I've found it, I don't need to change it!"
Nasreddin was written and premiered in 2002 by Fred Frith and the Mills College Contemporary Ensemble in California. It was revised and re-arranged for Ensemble Laboratorium in 2011.
This version is scored for bass flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, violin, viola, cello with an addition of one or more improvisers performing with the ensemble.