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Issue 31

(Fall 2017)






Ioannis Fulias: Rena Kyriakou’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, opus 18: its history, a first analytical approach, a critical re-evaluation and an attempt to place the work among the Greek art music creation


The present study focuses on the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, opus 18 / ÁÊÓÑÊ 74, that is the largest and most ambitious work of the eminent Greek pianist and composer Rena Kyriakou (1917-1994), while marking, at the same time, the crowning and the (abrupt) ending of her – officially known – creative career. With the aid of numerous sources, the creative and performance history of the work is clarified, before proceeding to a thorough music analysis of it, also in reference to several other works by Kyriakou. Thereinafter, the reception of her concerto by the music critics who attended its first public performance, in December 1943 in Athens, is systematically and critically investigated, in order to be ascertained the extent of the inadequacy of these critic essays for a modern objective evaluation of the work, as well as the importance of its re-approach from a zero basis, with the assistance of the (previously applied) analytical methodological tools. Furthermore, the necessity to place this specific work in the wider context of its genre and style, as they were cultivated in Greek art music, resulted in a comprehensive overview of all piano concertos written and (only partially) performed in public by Greek composers until 1945 (by N. Skalkottas, P. Petridis, M. Kalomiris, P. Kyriakou, Y. A. Papaioannou and L. Lalauni), along with a first attempt to comparatively examine the stylistic origins and the compositional tendencies represented in this repertoire.



Nestor Taylor: The structural and functional organization of the choir in the vocal works of J. S. Bach


Taking as a starting point the numerous performances of J. S. Bachs vocal works, where the number of choristers and their individual role often varies considerably, the writer endeavors to describe the basic principles of the chorus’ function-hierarchy in the times of Bach, with the aim of broadening our understanding of his work and creating the framework for becoming acquainted with the general esthetics of the baroque period in as much as they determine and are determined by the underlying structure of each work and its creator’s intentionality. The study is based on the analysis of a wide array of historical facts and an equal number of proposed interpretive methods that at various times have gained ascendancy, focusing on the description of two main opposing sides, that which promotes a small number of choir-member distribution (reduced to single), known as the “minimalist” school, as opposed to that which embraces a rather inflated approach, with stereotypical models harking back to a more romantic outlook, the so-called “maximalist” school. Evidently, these alternative approaches and differing views reinvigorate the opportunity for discussion around the question of authenticity and the value of interpretational historicity, engaging into dialogue and enabling the emergement of creative connections to the past.



Angeliki Skandali: Singing classes at the conservatoires established by M. Kalomiris and the cultivation of opera during the early 20th century (1919-1939)


A short study of the Records of Activities at the two conservatoires established by Kalomiris (the Hellenic Conservatoire and the National Conservatoire) is attempted in this article, as well as any possible connection between these institutions and the active Greek operatic troops established by Dionysios Lavrangas is detected. The study shows that the operatic activities in these two conservatoires are placed at a historic time as the first forwarding steps for opera cultivation in Greece were made. Students from all the territory were included in the records list, but the operation concerning the lyric song and the opera was long depended upon efforts made by the previously teaching staff at the Athens Conservatoire. Kalomiris’ conservatoires performed operas composed by their establisher and a number of talented graduates were happily recorded for their success abroad. The criteria for the configuration of the repertoire at the Kalomiris’ conservatoires are European-inspired, offering an interest to French impressionistic opera and national schools. Greek operas were also heard in concerts and performances. Operas by Dionysios Lavrangas were never performed, though the composer was a member of the directing board of the conservatoires.


Thimios Atzakas: Taksim: continuity and transformation. Historical retrospections, commentaries and reflections on the makam “performance-generated” composition


The ottoman musical form of taksim, translated in Greek as “taksimi” or “aftoschediasmos”, consists of numerous creative and well-concerted actions of the performer, which transcend his individual identity and connect with the musical and cultural life of his era. The well-focused study and practice of this form, not only improves the performer’s technical skills, but requires a harmonious synergy between intellectual, sensory and somatic status constantly interacting with aspects strongly related to the musical orality. The taksim, as a tool on the musical variation, processing and transformation of many eastern Mediterranean modal traditions, acquires a universal dimension: it reflects the “bridge” between the flow and stopping, personal innovation and obedience to the collective memory, linear and cyclic paths, improvisation and composition. In in situ composition of taksim performance practice, the division of roles between composer and performer gets lost in the endless flows and transformations of melodic-prosodic material.


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