Mikis Theodorakis: Rhapsody For Cello; Rhapsody For Guitar

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When considering the reception and public perception of the music of Mikis Theodorakis, a strange contrast becomes evident: Those interested in music know many of...
When considering the reception and public perception of the music of Mikis Theodorakis, a strange contrast becomes evident: Those interested in music know many of the Greek composer’s songs, sometimes without even knowing that a certain melody was written by him, since a considerable number of his songs have been disseminated in many different variations and arrangements. Singers from many countries have often made Theodorakis’s songs their own using new texts, some of which bear no relationship to the content of the original but contributed to their fame nonetheless. The situation looks quite different, however, with Theodorakis’s symphonic works. Even those who are active in the world of music often do not know a single symphonic work by Theodorakis; some are not even aware that he has produced a considerable symphonic oeuvre. The two rhapsodies on the present CD are easy to understand, making them good examples of the musical facture that derives from Theodorakis’s basic aesthetic stance. The rhapsodies have many things in common, including that they emerged from earlier works with the same melodic material. This procedure is characteristic of Theodorakis as well as the continuation of a procedure that can be found throughout the history of music. Recall the common multiple uses of their own musical material in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach or Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61, which the composer himself reworked into an alternative or second version for piano and orchestra as Op. 61a. The Rhapsody for Violoncello and Orchestra AST was written during the last six weeks of 1996 and was premiered in Munich in October 1998. The melodies are already found in the song cycle Ta lirikotera of 1994/95, which was released as a CD in 1996 under the title Poetica, and Ta prosopa tu iliu (The faces of the sun) of 1986. The nine movements bear the names of the nine muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, whom Hesiod called the tutelary goddesses of the arts and assigned them to particular spheres of the arts. Their more widely known Latin names and attributes are, in the order of the movements of the rhapsody: 1 Clio (history) 2 Erato (love poetry) 3 Thalia (comedy) 4 Calliope (epic poetry, philosophy and science) 5 Euterpe (flute playing and singing) 6 Urania (astronomy and didactic writing) 7 Terpsichore (dance and light entertainment) 8 Melpomene (tragedy and elegy) 9 Polyhymnia (sacred poetry, pantomime, and serious song) The Rhapsody for Guitar and Orchestra AST also has a precursor. In Athens in March 1967 Theodorakis wrote seven songs on texts from Federico Garcia Lorca’s Romencero gitano, published in 1928. These eighteen gypsy romances helped Garcia Lorca achieve his fame in Spain. His decidedly anti-Franco, leftist stance, in which Theodorakis no doubt saw parallels to his own positions, and his homosexuality caused him to be so hated by the reactionary forces that he was shot by the Falangists on August 18 or 19, 1938, just a few days before the civil war began. Theodorakis’s seven songs after Lorca were premiered in Rome in 1970 by Maria Farantouri under the direction of the composer. A version for alto and guitar was recorded by Maria Farantouri and John Williams in 1971 and only recently by the baritone Peter Goedhart and the guitarist Wim Spruijt with Garcia Lorca’s original Spanish text. Theodorakis’s second version with six songs is entitled Concert for Guitar (Lorcaand was commissioned by the Komische Oper of East Berlin. The premiere, with Maria Farantouri (alto), Kostas Kotsiolis (guitar), and members of the Rundfunkchor Berlin and the Orchester der Komischen Oper under Rolf Reuter was in September 1983. Finally, the composer arranged the work for guitar and symphony orchestra in the mid-1990s and premiered this version in Munich in October 1998. Theodorakis wanted to offer the guitarist an instrumental work well suited to the instrument and with the guitar dominating from start to finish. The melodic material is primarily assigned to the orchestra.

Product Description:

  • Release Date: January 05, 2007

  • UPC: 750447339927

  • Catalog Number: INT 33992

  • Label: Wergo

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Mikis Theodorakis