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Issue 23

(Fall 2013)

contents

abstracts

contributors

abstracts

  

Ioannis Fulias: Dimitri Mitropoulos and the Greek National School of Music

  

The present study entirely reconsiders the question of Mitropoulos’ relationship – both as a composer and as a music interpreter to the Greek National School of Music, detecting at first the reasons for which the main introducer of the European music modernism in the interwar Greece was already by the late 1920s supposed to be at the very opposite position to the music creation and the pursuits of Manolis Kalomiris and his companions. However, it is pointed out that the above consideration was strengthened in an absolute degree mainly after Mitropoulos’ final departure from Greece in 1939 and that its retrospective expansion, even on the first period of his compositional activity (during the years 1911-1920), lacks any sufficient justification. Actually, the investigation of several of his early works, including the utterly unacknowledged piano compositions Cretan Feast (1919) and A Greek Sonata (1920), but also of his “new-folkloristic” Four Cytherean Dances for piano (1926), and the identification of abundant genuine “national” musical features in them (i.e. the interval of the augmented second, chromatic and diatonic modal scales, Greek dance rhythms, motives and tunes, as well as idiomatic performance practices of folk music instruments), effortlessly lead to the conclusion that not only Mitropoulos’ position in early 20th-century Greek music creation was anything but completely isolated, but, on the contrary, a considerable part of his early compositional output should hereafter be included in the repertoire of the Greek National School of Music.

  

  

Petros Vouvaris: Performance as Composition, Composition as Performance: Perpetual Variations on a Theme by Yannis Constantinidis

  

In his Forty-four Children Pieces on Greek Melodies, Yannis Constantinidis avoids allotting thematic significance to the motivic structure of the Greek traditional melodies he employs, by replacing motivic working-out, as the primary form-defining element of his music, with a technique usually referred to as “perpetual variation”. According to this technique, a melodic structure is “perpetually” varied in such a way as to retain its recognizability by being constantly set in a varying harmonic, rhythmic, metric, and timbral framework, without undergoing any motivic transformation. The resulting formal narrative brings to mind the improvisational practices employed by the performers of Greek traditional music, who try to maintain a delicate balance between repetition and variation. Accepting the ambiguous relationship between the field of musical performance and that of musical composition as a starting point, this paper examines the way in which elements of the former get transferred to the latter through the case analysis of the last piece of Constantinidis’s aforementioned collection. Subsequently, it explores the possibility of inverting the relationship between these two fields and investigates the consequences of such an approach in the critical interpretation of the ontological status of Constantinidis’s music.

  

  

Giorgos Sakallieros: Yannis Constantinidis / Costas Yannidis: The Greek Song within the Creative Course of a Composer Following Two Artistic Identities

  

The presence of two artistic identities comprises the main characteristic of the Greek composer Yannis Constantinidis (1903-1984). Throughout his life from Smyrna to Dresden, and thereafter from Berlin to Athens Constantinidis (or Yannidis or Dorres) always chose the genre of song as a source of his artistic creations. Influenced by folksong memories of his childhood that later worked out to be a comprehensive study of the ethnomusicological collections of Baud-Bovy, Pachtikos etc., Constantinidis outlined an art-form of Greek song with accompaniment based entirely on folksong material, followed by specific structural models for composing symphonic, piano, chamber and choral works. Moreover, the impact of jazz, cabaret songs and American popular dance-rhythms from the mid-war Berlin, blended with the folkish idiom of Athinaiki kantada and the European operetta models of the 1920s, urged him to develop a typology of songwriting for the light musical theatre with outstanding results. In conclusion, this paper examines the characteristics that constitute each one of the artistic identities of Yannis Constantinidis / Costas Yannidis, the role of the song as either a canonistic or a symbolic pattern, along with the particularities that both differentiate between and consolidate the composer’s “art” and “light” music output.
  

  

Konstantinos G. Sampanis: The Opera Performances in Cephalonia from the Establishment of “Solomos” Theatre (1837) until the First Years of “Cephalos” Theatre and the Annexation of the Ionian Islands to the “Kingdom of Greece” (1864) – I

  

The first aimed, organized and complete season of opera performances in the Ionian Island of Cephalonia was held at Argostoli in 1837 at the “Solomos” Theatre, which was actually a transformed part of the residence of the nobleman Alexandros Solomos. For about two decades (1837-1856), opera seasons were not scheduled on an annual basis. However, from the establishment of “Cephalos” theatre (1858) until the season of 1863-1864, there was a remarkable stability and regularity concerning the annual occurrence. Altogether, from 1837 until the annexation of Cephalonia to the “Kingdom of Greece” (1864), 17 organized seasons of opera performances had been launched, while one more season may be considered as questionable. It is estimated that during the period between 1837 and 1864 a total of 90-95 opera productions were held, 53 of which are so far completely confirmed, while 14 more are strongly believed to have taken place based on documentary evidence. There were performed 40 operas of 11 composers, mainly Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi. The small population of Cephalonia, as well as the fact that this island was a minor and peripheral opera “market”, conduced to the appearance of Italian opera troops mainly of medium or law quality. They usually consisted, on the one hand, of young and undistinguished singers, a few of which made a name for themselves during the following years, but also most of which remained undistinguished, and, on the other hand, of aged singers, which were very close to the end of their career. Nevertheless, the public of Cephalonia had the opportunity to hear some significant singers, of which the most important were prima donna soprano Serafina Rubini, baritone Filippo Coliva, bass Luigi Dalla Santa and comic bass Giuseppe Rossi-Gallieno.
  

  

Kostas Kardamis: Spyridon Xyndas (Spiridione Xinda), Leonidas Alvanas and Some Thoughts Regarding the Art Song in Ionian Islands

  

Based on the opinions and the assumptions asserted by Theodoros Synadinos in his book entitled To Elliniko Tragoudi [The Greek Song] (1922), this essay attempts a reassessment regarding both the activity and the aims of the two most popular songwriters of the Ionian Islands as well as of Greece during 19th century, namely Spyridon Xyndas (1817-1896) and Leonidas Alvanas (1823-1881). Remaining faithful to his usual practice, Synadinos attempts to differentiate the musical creativity – in this particular case, the song – of the Ionian Islands from that of his contemporary Greece by presenting the former as a cultural “other” fully coordinated with the conventions of Italian music. Nonetheless, the songs by Xyndas and Alvanas, as well as those of the Ionian Islands in general, constituted a dynamic part of the musical reality of their time with specific educational, cultural, artistic and social objectives, related to the demands not only of the Ionian Islands, but of the Greek Kingdom as well. After all, even Synadinos admitted that the Greek popular song was based on that of the Ionian Islands.

 

 
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