1st Concert - In the world

Mon 28.8

Claude Debussy's sensual and colourful Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1894) marks a turning point in the history of music. In it, the French composer demonstrated totally new paths which musical art could follow and inaugurated a new impressionistic school of composition. At the same time, German music begins to push against, if not to actually transcend, the limits of traditional tonality. This is very much the case in the first official work by the Austrian composer Alban Berg. Almost a century later, the whole planet would be shaken by the attacks of September 11, 2001, a momentous event that would also provide inspiration to Steve Reich, one of the leading exponents of contemporary minimalism. In contrast, Sergei Rachmaninoff's music, though "safely" ensconced in the musical idiom of 19th-century Romanticism, never loses its resonance and emotive warmth and melodiousness.

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862 - 1918) - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (transcribed for chamber ensemble by Benno Sachs under the supervision of Arnold Schoenberg)

Konstantina Strataki - Flute
Kostis Siragakis - Clarinet
Ioannis Mageiropoulos - Violin
George Chliavoras - Violin
Stefanos Symeonidis - Viola
Konstantinos Spyridakis - Violoncello
Vassilis Charalambidis - Double Bass
Manolis Griniazakis - Piano
Giannis Boufidis - Percussion
Lefteris Boutsolis - Oboe
Lina Zachari - Harmonium
Titos Gouvelis - Conductor

ALBAN BERG (1885 - 1935) - Piano Sonata op. 1

Titos Gouvelis - Piano

STEVE REICH (b. 1936) - WTC 9/11 (2010) for string quartet and pre-recorded film

Iason Keramidis - Violin
Josef Špaček - Violin
David Bogorad - Viola
Timotheos Gavriilidis-Petrin - Cello

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF (1873 — 1943) - Trio élégiaque no.1 in G minor

Iason Keramidis - Violin
Timotheos Gavriilidis-Petrin - Cello
Titos Gouvelis - Piano



Minoa Chamber Music Festival - CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862 - 1918) - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (transcribed for chamber ensemble by Benno Sachs under the supervision of Arnold Schoenberg)

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862 - 1918)

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (transcribed for chamber ensemble by Benno Sachs under the supervision of Arnold Schoenberg)

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune Written between 1891 and 1894, this symphonic work was inspired by the well-known poem by the great French symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé, "The Afternoon of a Faun" (1876). In the poem, the ancient Roman forest deity, in a state between sleep and wakefulness, strives to recall an encounter in which beautiful nymphs resist his erotic call. Debussy's Prelude was first performed in December 1894, in Paris, and has since become emblematic of impressionism in music. An ethereal flute solo is repeated and developed with subtle harmonic nuances and sensual orchestration—elements that capture the warmth of the midday reverie, and above all the faun's enigmatic suspension between dream and reality. After World War I, Schoenberg, with his students Alban Berg and Anton Webern, founded the Society for Private Musical Performances in Vienna to present music by contemporary composers to the city's conservative audience. Orchestral music was presented with reduced personnel to cut costs and so the ensemble could fit on the small stage available. Schoenberg had taken a keen interest in Debussy's music, to the point that he programmed no fewer than sixteen of his compositions for the Society's concerts. In the case of the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune [Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun], the transcription for chamber ensemble was completed in October 1921 and its performance scheduled for the same season. The arrangement is the work of Benno Sachs, one of the Society's rehearsal conductors and the secretary in charge of its correspondence. Manolis Lorentzos

Minoa Chamber Music Festival - ALBAN BERG (1885 - 1935) -

ALBAN BERG (1885 - 1935)

op. 1

Piano Sonata, opus 1 Alban Berg's Piano Sonata, Op. 1 (1908) is often referred to as the piece with which the composer graduated from Arnold Schoenberg's class. Berg met Schoenberg in 1904 and became his devoted friend and, despite having no prior formal musical training, his student. His studies under Schoenberg continued for six years. Like his classmate Anton Webern, Berg remained true throughout his career to their teacher's dictum that every form of musical innovation could exist, but only if preceded by a profound understanding of the traditions of the Western musical heritage. Despite its harmonically adventurous development, the sonata’s sound world remains firmly rooted in the musical idiom of late Romanticism. While no specific key is indicated, the work actually hovers around B minor, a tonality it shares with another wonderful single-movement Romantic sonata: Franz Liszt’s. When the young Berg, who was still only twenty-three, presented the work to his teacher, he intended it to form part of a longer composition. However, Schoenberg encouraged him to allow the piece to become a musical entity in its own right. Although Berg had already composed a number of songs, the sonata was his first official composition to be published and the one on which his first opus number was bestowed. The sonata develops over the course of a single movement; while it employs classical sonata form, its atonality necessitates harmony that is anything but traditional. Beginning and ending in enigmatic silence, this short work manages to chart a course through multiple episodes of turmoil and "crisis" in less than ten minutes. Since it does not use melody in the traditional manner and avoids the classical connection between dissonant and consonant chords provided for by tonal harmony, the sonata inevitably leads the listener to discover a multitude of new ways in which music can function and communicate - and does so while remaining intensely expressive. Manolis Lorentzos

Minoa Chamber Music Festival - STEVE REICH (b. 1936) - WTC 9/11 (2010) for string quartet and pre-recorded film

STEVE REICH (b. 1936)

WTC 9/11 (2010) for string quartet and pre-recorded film

For 25 years, we lived four blocks away from the World Trade Center in New York City. On 9/11 we were in Vermont, but our son, granddaughter and daughter-in-law were all in our apartment. Our phone connection stayed open for 6 hours and our next-door neighbours were finally able to drive north out of the city with their family and ours. For us, 9/11 was not a media event. By January 2010, several months after Kronos asked me for the piece, I realized the pre-recorded voices would be from 9/11. Specifically, they would start from the Public Domain: NORAD, FDNY, and then from interviews with friends and neighbours who lived or worked in lower Manhattan. In the first movement there are archive voices from NORAD air traffic controllers, alarmed that American flight 11 was off course. This was the first plane to deliberately crash into the World Trade Center. The movement then shifts to the New York City Fire Department archives of that day, telling what happened on the ground. The second movement uses recordings I made in 2010 of neighbourhood residents, an officer of the Fire Department and the first ambulance driver (from Hatzalah volunteers) to arrive at the scene, remembering what happened nine years earlier. The third and last movement uses the voices of a neighbourhood resident, two volunteers who took shifts sitting near the bodies, and the cellist/singer and cantor mentioned above. WTC 9/11 is only 15 and a half minutes long. While composing it I often tried to make it longer and each time it felt that extending its length reduced its impact. The piece wanted to be terse. Steve Reich


I. 9/11
II. 2010

Minoa Chamber Music Festival - SERGEI RACHMANINOFF (1873 — 1943) -


Trio Élégiaque No.1 in G minor for violin, cello and piano Rachmaninoff had a precarious and emotionally fraught childhood. His father squandered the family fortune, as a result of which they were forced to move homes several times, his sister died in the diphtheria epidemic, and his parents divorced. However, he remained enrolled at the St Petersburg Conservatory until 1885, when he failed every one of his academic subjects (at least in part because his now divorced mother no longer supervised his studies). After that, he moved to the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied under a notoriously strict piano teacher, Nikolai Zverev. This proved to be a blessing for his career, as Rachmaninoff developed into an astonishingly skilled piano virtuoso. The young student would also meet many of the leading Russian musicians of the time, including Tchaikovsky and Arensky, at Zverev's apartment. Rachmaninoff studied harmony with Arensky at the Conservatory, but it was Tchaikovsky who was his most influential mentor. In January 1892, Rachmaninoff made his official Moscow debut playing solo pieces by Chopin, Liszt and Tchaikovsky, along with some of his own chamber works: two pieces for cello and piano and the Trio élégiaque in G minor, which he had written less than two weeks prior to the concert in the space of just four days. Like most of his music at the time, the trio bears the powerful imprint of Tchaikovsky's influence, although the melodic line is already clearly characteristic of Rachmaninoff. The trio develops over the course of a long single movement, with is strikingly similar to the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio, which was written in 1882 after the death of Nikolai Rubinstein, the director of the Moscow Conservatory and Tchaikovsky's friend and teacher. Tchaikovsky marked his long first movement "Pezzo elegiaco" (an elegiac piece), and like it, Rachmaninoff's Elegiac Trio ends with a funeral march. There are certainly other references to Tchaikovsky in the composition, but the overall musical style is typical of Rachmaninoff. Sadly, Tchaikovsky would die less than two years later, and before he could conduct the première of Rachmaninoff's orchestral fantasy The Rock, as he had wished to. Rachmaninoff would then return to the piano trio form, composing a second Trio élégiaque, this time in memory of his mentor. Manolis Lorentzos