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Issue 30

(Spring 2017)






Ioannis Fulias: The four piano concertos of Xaver Scharwenka. A contribution to the examination of the concerto genre during the late romantic period (Part II)


The present publication is the first, internationally, comprehensive study devoted to the four concertos for piano and orchestra of Xaver Scharwenka (1850-1924), works that are not only some of the most representative of their genre during the late romantic period, but also unjustifiably neglected for almost a century. As an introduction, a brief biographical sketch is provided for the composer, brilliant virtuoso and notorious piano pedagogue (among his many other attributes), and a reference is made to his principal works; also, a critical reconstruction of the periodisation of his whole compositional output in two distinct phases (instead of three periods, as has been groundlessly proposed by M. Schneider-Dominco) is offered, and a similar review is attempted concerning the references to Scharwenka’s concertos that are detected both in general and more specific literature. Subsequently, each of the composer’s four piano concertos is examined from a historical and an analytical perspective: the – as complete as possible – history of their creation and performances is based on a thorough cross-check of data from the available primary sources and secondary literature references, leading to numerous revisions of hitherto erroneous or deficient information, while the detailed analyses of the works illuminate their structure and their main stylistic features in connection with a solid theoretical background, which contributes to the elimination of any kind of misinterpretation formulated for these concertos in all their previous, superficial, approaches. Finally, in the conclusion of this study, a) the evolution of Scharwenka’s compositional style is evaluated through his formal choices, the implementation of the cyclic form as a compositional principle, and the relation between the solo instrument and the orchestra that is developed in his four concertos, b) the possible influence that the works of prominent fellow-craftsmen of his occasionally had on Scharwenka is put under investigation, c) the exact position of these piano concertos in the wider history of their genre during the late romantic period is redefined, and, inevitably, d) an inquiry is made into the causes of their displacement from the concert repertoire after the death of their composer.



Kostas Kardamis: Spiros Samaras’ interventions regarding the musical matters of Greece (1888-1909)


For several decades the conventional idea regarding Spiros Samaras was that of a composer with a notable career abroad but totally alienated from Greece. Nonetheless, it is becoming gradually apparent that Samaras took advantage of every opportunity to propose and actively support ideas and plans for the development of the Greeks’ musical sentiment as well as for the organization or improvement of his homeland’s music institutions. This essay attempts to investigate in brief certain aspects of these interventions by Samaras before his permanent return to Athens (1911), which demonstrate coherence and continuity in the composer’s aims and pursuits.



Antonis I. Konstantinidis: Arithmetics and mathematics in accordance with the Theory of Chrisanthos


1814 is thought to be an important milestone in the development of Greek traditional church music (known as “Psaltiki Techni”), since it signifies the beginning of theoretical and notational reformation. This reformation becomes widely known as the reformation of the “Three Teachers”. In his main work, Mega Theoritikon, published in 1832, Chrisanthos of Maditos sufficiently supports the theoretical background of his endeavor. He analyses and establishes the new theory of the church music. This significant edition includes not only the technical and theoretical details related to the specific topic, but also the philosophical and aesthetical views of the author. The main sources of Chrisanthos’ work must be found either in the scripts of ancient Greek music theory writers or in contemporary theoretical works that refer to western music. Meanwhile, there is a great interest in the way that Chrisanthos uses arithmetics and mathematics in his work. He uses the numbers not only as an important denotation for the survey of his interval theory, but as supporting evidence too. We can also observe the logical sequences, which he is referring to, either in words or used for calculations, as well as the application of some elementary algebraic tools. The conclusions of this research raise a great interest and lead to some really useful associations concerning the theoretical thinking, the knowledge and the motivations of the reformer writer.



Theodore Karathodoros: Two-way communication between composer and performer. The contribution of Lykourgos Angelopoulos to contemporary art music


Undoubtedly, Lykourgos Angelopoulos was one of the most prominent figures in Byzantine music. His long-standing activity as a chanter and conductor of the renowned Greek Byzantine Choir, his important pedagogical work, as well as the writing of musicological articles and essays constitute the dominant components of his creative course. There is, however, another aspect of his artistic activity, which the wide audience is not so familiar with. In fact, his participation as a soloist in works of contemporary art music broadened the horizons of his artistic presence, while his vocal skills, his artistic and scientific pursuits, as well as his strong personality influenced to a certain extent the mindset of contemporary music creators. In particular, his close collaboration with the high-calibre composers Michael Adamis and Dimitri Terzakis was a decisive factor in the creation of important works, many of which were written exclusively for him. In this article, the artistic connection established between the composer and the performer is analysed, putting special emphasis on those traits of Angelopoulos’ personality that inspired and influenced the compositional process of selected works. At the same time, this article discusses the general presence of Lykourgos Angelopoulos in the contemporary Greek art music milieu.



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