Bizarre Market Music

When writing the entry for “bazaar/bizarre” on p. 33, I was entertained by its etymology as described in the Oxford English Dictionary: “Ultimately < Persian bāzār market. It has been adopted in Hindustani and Turkish, and seems to have come into English use first from the latter, through Italian.

Early spellings in English include “bazarro,” “buzzarr,” and “bazaards.”

Why was this entertaining? Because the etymology made me immediately think of Albert W. Ketèlbey’s musical composition, “In a Persian Market” (1920).

Ketèlbey was a hugely popular composer of “light music” whose first hit, in 1915, was “In a Monastery Garden.” Despite his exotic-sounding name (pronounced kuh-TELL-bee), he was born and raised in Birmingham, England.

The classic recording of his music is by the London Promenade Orchestra on the Philips label, conducted by Alexander Faris.

Whatever happened to Persia? It’s now Iran.

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