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Issue 14

(Spring 2009)

contents

abstracts

contributors

abstracts

 

Ioannis Fulias: Sonata forms and their theoretical evolution: 20th-century theorists (II)

 

The seventh part of this extensive survey of the theoretical evolution of sonata forms from 18th to 20th centuries opens the examination of the prevailing stream in sonata theory since the middle-20th-century, shedding at first light on Leonard Gilbert Ratner’s controversial enterprise to elevate the harmonic basis of any sonata form (instead of its thematic content) with – occasionally precarious, misinterpreted or forged – references to several historical sources from 18th and 19th centuries. However, other contributions towards the same direction, such as these by Jens Peter Larsen and William Stein Newman, are less one-sided, more flexible, and finally more successful in their attempt to reconstruct critically the traditional theoretical frame for sonata forms. Moreover, Rey Morgan Longyear’s remarkable research clarifies a lot of issues concerning the harmonic plot of any structural type of sonata in general and the specifications of the (often unrecognised) binary sonata form in particular. Less known, but extremely revealing, is Klaus Ferdinand Heimes’ study on the origin of the “ternary sonata principle” and its true relation to the binary one during the first half of the 18th century, whilst László Somfai’s work on Joseph Haydn’s keyboard sonatas comprises a clear distinction of the three plain sonata types (ternary, binary, and without development), as well as many thorough – and historically informed – observations about the interplay of the harmonic, thematic and textural elements in a sonata form.

 

 

Risto Pekka Pennanen: The organological development and performance practice of the Greek bouzouki (Part I)

 

This article addresses to several facets of the three- and four-course bouzouki: the etymologies of the name and other relevant terminologies, the structural development of that instrument family, the sonic and spatial organisation of the bouzouki ensemble, scordaturas and their use, and the tactility of the two bouzouki types. Set in the general theoretical framework of modernisation and Westernisation, the analysis sets the bouzouki into a wider perspective than the accustomed Greek national one. The sources include commercial recordings and films as well as audiovisual field recordings. The methodology of the study includes philological methods, historical source criticism, iconographic analysis and tactility analysis combined with musical analysis.

 

 

Angeliki Skandali: The teaching of opera singing in the Athens Conservatoire and the Greek Melodrama, 1900-1939

 

A short study of the Detailed Records of the Athens Conservatoire is attempted in this article, as any possible connections between the institution and the active Greek operatic troops established by Dionysios Lavrangas is detected. The study shows that the operatic activity in the Athens Conservatoire is placed at the same historic time as the first systematic attempts for opera cultivation in Greece. Students from Smyrna, Crete, Rumania and countries of S.E. Europe were charmed by operatic art and pursued being teached. However, it is beyond any proving that they had necessarily been impressed by the Greek Melodrama performances. Nevertheless, teachers for opera singing at the Athens Conservatoire were appointed like as following the ventures of Greek Melodrama abroad. The criteria for the configuration of repertoires at the Athens Conservatoire are west European-inspired. Their priorities favour German and French music. Since 1916 and forth ward, Stephanos Veltetsiotis’s presence at the Athens Conservatoire is connected with a stronger veristic colour in the repertoires. This is similar to the practice of Italian and Greek operatic troops during this era. Parts from Greek operas were heard in concerts and performances at the Athens Conservatoire. However, operas by Dionysios Lavrangas were never performed, though the composer was a member of the teaching staff of this institution.

 

 

Christos Kolovos: Miltiades Caridis; Danzig, 1923 – Athens, 1998. Ten years of absence

 

Fifteen years younger than Odyssey Achillesovitch Dimitriadi (1908-2005) of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, Miltiades Caridis (1923-1998), just like Dimitriadi, has got a top place in the art of conducting worldwide. Both of them following Dimitri Mitropoulos’ (1896-1960) footsteps conquered the top, working ceaselessly with the same ardor and desire – living an ascetic life in general – until their very end.

In this retrospective article we will try to approach the artistic career of – born in Danzig of Germany at that time – Miltiades Caridis, by focusing on all the stops he did during his life: Dresden, Athens, Austria (Vienna – Graz; studies and work), Germany, Denmark, Norway, Duisburg, Athens. During his “journey”, which lasted as much as his whole life, Caridis went back to some of these cities / countries later. He gave his all to his art, which cost him a very early death, without fulfilling all of his dreams. However, they say that a human being dies only when the people stop remembering or studying about him / her. Such a thing has never eventuated and will never happen for Caridis. His music – more than 50 CDs and LPs registered, which we are presenting in our essay – is the fact that keeps him alive among us.

We will attempt to meet quite a few works of his repertoire and some of the soloists, who he worked with. We will look at his relationship with the Greek music and the criticism he suffered by leading figures of his era about this subject, but also about other artistic issues concerning him; by people that one could not expect (of being that harsh), who are considered many times as the masters of our musical scene, such us Hatzidakis. We will find out some thoughts of Caridis, his relationship with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and, through some pieces out of his correspondence, what some important composers of his time – whose works he performed in a World Premier – thought about him. The article is also accompanied by indicant photographic material.

 

 

John Svolos: Greek Musical Modernism: Origins and Descendants

 

Regarding art music in Greece, the decade of 1960 proved an era of decisive breaks with the past and departures to new directions, following the spirit of the times which dictated the Europeanization of the country. Changes materialized in the field of a political life conditioned by the total dominance of the Right-wing political Party, which followed the end of the Civil War (1949). The imposition of the Colonels’ Junta after a military coup in 1967 and the change-over, marking its end in 1974 stand out as turning points. Today, the absence of organized archives regarding the musical life in Greece and the absence of a soundly documented History of Greek art music make it all the more elusive to grasp the climate and the annulled possibilities of period 1960-1974. Compared to its central European counterpart, Greek Musical Modernism (GMM) at its beginning was almost totally uninformed of musical advances abroad, had shallow roots, while different reasons brought about its emergence. It also lacked educational and social grounding. Greek modernists are revolutionaries without past and with almost no exception all of them had completed their studies abroad. The emergence of GMM was facilitated by the historic end of the Greek National School of Music and the changes of direction in the realms of political and cultural landscape brought about by the disruptions caused by World War II and the Civil War. Oriented towards abstraction, apolitical, socially and ideologically aseptic, GMM’s progressivity allowed the ruling class to invest in it, guaranteed its survival during the Junta and facilitated the coexistence of composers of diverging profiles and ideologies. At its beginning and formation GMM was crucially encouraged by the multiform, imported paradigms which were supplied by the then newly established cultural foundations of foreign countries in Athens (USA, Germany, Italy). The history of GMM coincides with the lives and work of a group of composers (Adamis, Dragatakis, Sicilianos, Y. A. Papaioannou, Ioannidis, Mamangakis, Kouroupos, Sfetsas etc.), whose personal musical idioms drew on widely varying sources (National School, traditional and Byzantine music, major tracks of European modernism etc.). The most eminent Greek composers of the time, Christou and Xenakis, remained loner, international masters with no equals or following. On the contrary, the contribution by Y. A. Papaioannou, Ioannidis and Antoniou was decisive: for very long periods they taught composition and modern techniques to successive generations of younger composers. The overall activity and work of Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis demand especially careful assessment. Very impressive, rich and visible, the activity of GMM composers during the 1960-1980 includes the foundation of music ensembles and institutions, the organization of international meetings and events, and wide participation in state sponsored events of cultural life. During the decades of the 1970s and the 1980s mature members of GMM had taken over key-positions in organizations and institutions. However, they were hindered by the overtly populist turn of cultural life from creating sustainable conditions, which would help materialize the essential perspectives and fulfill the promises visible in the optimistic beginnings of the sixties. The majority of compositions created remains unknown to the public and developments led to gradual decadence and withering. Today, the field of Greek contemporary music is bedeviled by huge contradictions. Most prominent among them are ignorance and disregard of musical past, absence of emblematic new works, problems of identity and quality of musical language, and, finally, a major crisis regarding the overall profile and the importance of the musical works that are being produced. Crucial points need to be clarified in the future: in the case of GMM does the notion of “modern” totally and exactly coincides with the notion of “contemporary”? What is the position and viability of historic GMM within the frame of today’s Greek society? What are the relations between GMM and the political Left? What is the connection between GMM and the system of musical education? Clarification of the above will help give a documented overall answer to the question whether GMM ever existed as a well defined, well articulated movement, in the strictest meaning of the term, and, finally, whether it was a beginning or a “lost spring”.

 

 

Anastasia Kakaroglou – Katy Romanou: Extracts from Guillaume André Villoteau’s De l’état actuel de l’art musical en Égypte (III)

 

In this volume of Polyphonia we go on with the publication of Guillaume André Villoteau’s “De la musique grecque moderne”, i.e., the fourth chapter of his treatise De l’état actuel de l’art musical en Égypte(1826), in a Greek translation. In “Article 5”, presented in this volume of Polyphonia, Villoteau continues the translation of a Papadike (name of treatises giving instructions on 14th and 15th century Byzantine notation). In this extract, Villoteau lists all possible “compositions of neumes” as stated in the Papadike, together with his own interpretation of each, in staff notation. All music examples in our translation are photographed from Villoteau’s edition.

 

 

 
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