"The Soldier's Tale" | Works by Chopin, Christodoulou, Koukos, Stravinsky, Zervos
20 October 2011
An ensemble of exceptional musicians, recipients of Onassis Foundation scholarships, will be performing Stravinsky’s celebrated work, along with works by contemporary Greek composers.
The ensemble is the brainchild of Nikos Christodoulou, who first suggested having Onassis Foundation musical scholars play together. The ensemble forms a chamber orchestra for this concert, and the majority of the musicians involved—including the vocal and instrumental soloists, the Greek composers and the conductor—are recipients of Onassis Foundation scholarships.
The programme includes works for chamber orchestra by three contemporary Greek composers in addition to a major work by Stravinski. Some of the works use theatrical staging or/and the human voice, but all feature musical encounters with literature or the theatre.
A late Chopin nocturne leads into the A Midsummer Night’s Dream suite, an arrangement for chamber orchestra of Pericle Koukos’ opera-ballet of the same name. Based on Shakespeare’s play, the work features the interchange of vibrant, polyrhythmic and melodic elements, a range of tone colours with prominent brass solos, and allusions to Renaissance modality.
Nikos Christodoulou’s Great Crane Dance on Kullaberg references Salma Lagerlöf’s much-loved children’s novel, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils; in the chapter of that name, a ritual dance at the annual assembly of the animals culminates in the dance of the cranes. Non-programmatic, the work is in sonata form with two contrasting musical ideas: one polyrhythmic and homophonic, the other contrapuntal with a steady rhythmic pulse.
Grodek is a musical setting by Giorgos Zervos for Georg Trakl’s last poem (1914). Written for soprano and chamber orchestra, it reflects the dark atmosphere of the First World War and combines two elements—‘nature’ and ‘death’—in the form of interweaving melodic-rhythmic motifs that rise steadily to a climax.
Stravinsky’s celebrated Histoire du soldat [Soldier's Tale] suite is unique in both style and orchestration: setting out to write a music-theatre work that could feasibly be played in the straitened economic circumstances that followed World War I, Stravinsky scored it for an unusually small ensemble of just seven instruments. The concert ends with the same composer’s Tango.
Artistic direction: Nikos Christodoulou
(orchestrated by Nikos Christodoulou)
A Midsummer Night's Dream
(1992, suite from the same-titled opera-ballet)
Great Crane Dance on the Kullaberg
Suite from the Soldier's Tale
(1940, orchestrated by Nikos Christodoulou)
Chrysse Dimitriou: flute
Yannis Papayannis: oboe
Spyros Mourikis: clarinet
Alexandros Economou: bassoon
Antonis Lagos: horn
Panagiotis Kessaris: trumpet
Kostas Avgerinos: trombone
Dimitris Dessylas: percussion
Thanassis Apostolopoulos: piano
Antonis Sousamoglou: violin
Giorgos Mandylas: violin
Petros Vlassis: violin
Elias Sdoukos: viola
Angelos Liakakis: violoncello
Aristoteles Potamianos: double bass
Soloist: Lenia Zafiropoulou, soprano
Orchestra Conductor: Nikos Christodoulou