Celeste Restaurant

The Context

We sound-designed the lifestyle of Hyderabad’s rulers as an ‘Orientalised’ allegory of the Ottoman Dynasty. This unique musical trajectory between Hungary (the prime minister’s grand mother-in-law was Hungarian), Turkey and Hyderabad highlights a hitherto little known or neglected musical field within the study of Ottoman court music.

The Music

The Celeste restaurant:  a ‘celeste’ is a 3 octaves metallophone keyboard of the 19th century. It’s soft and subtle timbre gave the instrument its name, meaning “heavenly” in French, which is the perfect adjective to the breakfast soundtrack.

The Continental menu at lunch is an opportunity to underline the western territories of the Ottoman Empire that stretched until Eger, Hungary. The soundtrack tackles the imagination of early 20th century ‘new folklores’ as many composers drew their inspiration from national folklore, often borrowing from Roma musicians to create their own vision of an exotic and largely imaginary Orient.

Dinner at the Celeste is a musical masquerade in grand palatial style. It is not easy to decide who is wearing the mask: is it a vintage American jazz band playing a Strauss waltz? Or a western European orchestra playing an Oriental Gypsy swing?