By Maria Gregoriou
This coming Thursday in Limassol, and on Friday in Nicosia, the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra and members of the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra will be performing a programme dedicated to works by five contemporary Cypriot composers.
The programme, which has been inspired by the history and culture of Cyprus, as well as by the experience of contemporary life, will be conducted by the orchestra’s artistic director Yiorgos Kountouris.
The pieces evoking Cypriot culture and history are Six Miniature Paintings by Nicos Vichas, Ups and Downs by Andreas Yangopouos, Naked Branches by Christina Athinodorou, Dionysian Dances by Christodoulos Georgiades and Cypriada by Andreas Kameris.
Six Miniature Paintings is a piece which travels back to the musical sounds of the composer’s childhood. As he elaborates: “By using small, well-known musical phrases, I try to incorporate the pictures that come to me when I hear these pieces, within an integrated musical work. With the Six Miniature Paintings I deposit to the Greek and Cypriot music school, a sample of my work.
Ups and Downs concentrates on what we all go through in our everyday life, the feeling of being up and on top of the world and then the feeling of being down and reaching a low emotional state – though the music will finish on an optimistic note.
Naked Branches is a piece which was commissioned by the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra in England and it was premiered in 2006.
According to Athinodorou, in the piece “movement and sound reflect, in an abstract manner, the movement of the branches of a naked tree, the image of which is connected to notions of abandonment, but also of hope for the spring that is to come.
Wooden sounds on the string instruments, sound bending through glissandi, microtonal steps and detuning of strings, are only some of the technical elements which colour the musical canvas.”
Dionysian Dances (in five orchestra interludes) was inspired by rhythms of the Greek folk tradition, and refers back to the old mysterious rituals of ancient Greece.
The piece tells a story which takes place in 1960 on a Greek island inhabited only by women. At first the music makes this island seem a little strange but, as the melodies go on, we realise that the island is connected to the male sacrifices of the ancient Dionysian rites.
Cypriada was composed in 2005 in Saint Petersburg and it describes Cyprus as a place that does not totally belong to the people who have lived or will live on it. The piece is poetic and brings the listener closer to a country of intrigue and becomes a symbol of going beyond time and not being of this universe.
Works of Cypriot Composers
Concert by the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra and members of the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra. February 26. Rialto Theatre, Limassol. 8.30pm. €12/7. Tel: 22-463144
February 27. Strovolos Municipal Theatre, Nicosia.