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Orchestra of Colours

Koukos / Gershwin

4 January 2011
20:30
Main Stage
Gershwin’s <em>Rhapsody in Blue</em> is a milestone in American music. Pericles Koukos’ <em>Suite in Blue</em> references both tango and bolero. The two ‘blue’ works will be preceded by extracts from a Koukos’ suite.
15 - 20 - 30 - 40 €
Concs 10 - 15 €
Paul Whiteman, a conductor interested in symphonic jazz, commissioned a new work from George Gershwin for a concert billed as “An experiment in modern music”. The composer worked feverishly to have it ready for the première, which took place in New York on February 12, 1924 with the composer at the keyboard. He imagined his Rhapsody as “a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness”. The critics unanimously praised the work with the “fearsome rhythmic difficulty”. The clarinet glissando with which it begins is one of the most recognisable introductions in any piece of 20th century music, and Rhapsody in Blue has become a milestone both in American music and as a new style of symphonic writing.

Pericles Koukos was commissioned to compose his Suite in Blue to mark the 45th anniversary of the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki. Aware that the first part of the concert was to feature Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, the composer opted to include jazz elements in his work, too. The seven-part suite makes use of polyrhythm, features virtuosic orchestration and references dances like the tango and bolero. Although the piano plays an important role throughout, the suite provides almost every instrument with solo opportunities.

The two ‘blue’ works will be preceded by three extracts from Koukos’ Manuel Salinas suite, which consists of nine pieces from his 1994 opera of the same name in orchestral form. The hero of the opera’s fantastic plot has been initiated into a mystic linguistic alchemy that gives him the power to create the creatures of which he speaks. The Three Dances represent the gaits of the bizarre creatures on Salinas’ island borne of this unique tongue.

credits

Conductor: Miltos Logiadis
Piano: Dimitris Koukos

Programme

Part A

Pericles Koukos
Three Dance Pieces
[excerpts from the opera Manuel Salinas]
(1994/1997)
I Dance Piece / II Nocturne / III Dance Piece

George Gershwin
Rhapsody in Blue
(1924)

Pericles Koukos
Suite in Blue
(2004)
I Largetto-Allegro risoluto / II Adagio cantabile / III Tempo di Tango / IV Allegro Molto / V  Andantino / VI Andante con espressione-Interlude / VII Presto

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