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Issue 35

(Fall 2020)






Yannis Belonis: The response of music critics to the Greek operetta during the Greek inter-war period


This research paper examines the reaction of the music critics to the Greek composers of operetta through the newspapers and music journals of the inter-war period. The critics’ response was negative and, in many cases, hostile. This feedback was in contrast with the warm reception of the audience at that period, which used to fill the theatres and praise the composers of these works, in every opportunity. All music critics that collaborated with the daily and music press on a regular basis during the inter-war period avoided to attend hundreds of performances and numerous premieres of Greek operetta. This behaviour was associated with their willingness to underrate the role of Greek operetta in music community, as well as to indicate their contempt to this genre. In their rare publications regarding the operettas, they highly emphasize their “damaging impact” on the taste of the audience, the efforts of the newly established Greek National School of Music to build a common Greek music language, as well as their “cheap” themes.



Katerina Maniou: Motif and contemporary musical borrowing material as a means of a new form of thematicism in Alfred Schnittke’s work


This paper investigates the versatile use of motifs in Schnittke’s work and examines an additional parameter that has not been pointed out in relevant research: their definition as themes. By using four different works as case studies, the means of thematicisation of motifs through complementary elements of reinforcement and, ultimately, substitution of traditional thematic function is examined. At the same time, the elaboration of this practice in combination with the composer’s musical and ideological maturing is depicted. A key factor in “thematicisation” is the identification of motifs in relation to stylistic allusions and conventions, which is supported by the unique features of contemporary musical borrowing material, of which Schnittke is fully aware, as can be seen in his theoretical work. This issue is treated as part of the widespread return to musical borrowing practices from 1960s onwards, highlighting their unprecedented range and emphasizing their pluralistic sources, their ways of embodiment and their conceptual dimensions. Finally, in a synthetic view of the parameters of motif, thematicism, musical borrowing and Schnittke’s evolution, the choice of the minimalistic musical cell of motif as a means of thematicism is approached itself interpretatively, as it seems to balance between conflicting musical aspects, thereby providing solutions to some of the composer’s most crucial concerns.



Marianna Sideri: The fascinating story of a third gender singers


A brief historical review of one of the most fascinating and extraordinary stories of Italian music: the adventure of hundreds of young boys who underwent partial mutilation in order to maintain the quality characteristics of a voice that is out of their nature. The ambiguities that accompany the life stories of castrati singers are not limited to identifying the gender and quality of their voice but extend to issues of origin, education, professionalism and social relationships, making it difficult to assess the true dimension of their phenomenon. The present study, based on historical sources and modern scientific literature, gathers the existing knowledge and contributes to a better understanding of the world of castrati and their time.


Angeliki Skandali: Vocal teaching at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki (1914-1940)


The article focuses on the results of an investigation in the archives of the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki. Records of hardback volumes include administration acts, examination and concert programmes as well as documents of a multifaceted opera activity. All lyric song teaching staff is chronicled in detail, the names of the students are listed, concert repertoires and graduations are also included. This sets sights on highlighting the particular character of the Conservatory since its founding in 1914 until the 1940 war break-out. Numerous distinguished artists pass in front of the reader’s eyes: Carolina Capasso, a long-term teaching staff member, Stella Kokkinis, a performer famous for her earlier lyric career, Pepos Baxevanos, a lyric singer from Thessaloniki, Elvira de Hildago and Odysseas Lappas, distinguished artists in Greece and abroad, etc. During the chronicle they are all shown active into the frames of unanswered questions of study.


Nestor Taylor: Harp technique: chords and arpeggios – A guide for composers and orchestrators


The present study is a brief overview of the main technical possibilities of the harp and a description of the formal processes of their integration in the orchestral writing that draws examples from the wider range of music literature including works of contemporary representatives of modern Greek music. Particular emphasis is placed on issues of orchestration practice, with detailed commentary on the basic principles governing the construction of chords and derivative arpeggios, in an attempt to codify the technical possibilities and physical constraints that influence and, to a large extent, shape our compositional choices when writing for the harp.


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