3rd Concert - Parallel worlds

Fri 1.9

The harp makes its first appearance at the Chamber Music Festival Chania, but what an entrance it is! Maurice Ravel wrote his light and lucid septet—a small but shimmering harp concerto in all but name—at the dawn of the20th century. The harp's expressive potential, along with that of the violin, is also revealed in all its glory in the Sonata by the outstanding violinist and composer Simos Papanas, which can only be described as one of his most adventurous works. At the beginning of the concert, we will get to enjoy the first sonata ever written in which cello and piano collaborate as equals; a composition that showcases the young Beethoven's freshness, vitality and self-confidence.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN - Sonata for cello and piano no.1 in F major, opus 5 no.1

Angelos Liakakis - Cello
Titos Gouvelis - Piano

SIMOS PAPANAS (b. 1979) - Sonata for violin and harp

Iason Keramidis - Violin
Gogo Xagara - Harp

MAURICE RAVEL (1875 — 1937) - Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet

Gogo Xagara - Harp
David Bogorad - Flute
Shirley Brill - Clarinet
Pawel Zalejski -
Silvia Careddu - Violin
Josef Špaček - Viola
Timotheos Gavriilidis-Petrin - Cello



Minoa Chamber Music Festival - LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN - Sonata for cello and piano no.1 in F major, opus 5 no.1


Sonata for cello and piano no.1 in F major, opus 5 no.1

Beethoven completed his first sonatas for cello and piano in 1796, while on tour in Berlin, then the capital of Prussia. They are dedicated to the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm II, who was a great music lover, an amateur cellist and the dedicatee of various works, including the 'Prussian' string quartets written by Haydn and Mozart, respectively. At that time, Wilhelm's court musicians included two French brothers, Jean-Pierre and Jean-Louis Duport, who were among the finest professional cellists in Europe. According to an account by Beethoven's pupil and assistant, Ferdinand Ries, Beethoven and Jean-Louis Duport performed these first sonatas at court, for which the King rewarded the composer with a golden box containing one hundred French Louis d’or! Beethoven's opus 5 sonatas established a new approach to the cello and piano sonata. Their original title was "Two large sonatas for harpsichord or pianoforte with obbligato cello". However, the cello part in these works differed from pre-classical sonatas of this type in being more than a simple doubling of the piano's bass line. The cello now had a voice of its own. However, it would not be until Beethoven's middle period that the composer would treat the cello and piano as completely equal partners in his sonatas. Still, though some may consider these early works to be "sonatas for piano with cello", the cello here is actually both integral and independent. Which is to say these works mark the starting point of the modern cello sonata repertoire. It should also be noted that, while it is often said of Beethoven's early period that the composer was still imitating and mastering the existing compositional models, there were no ready-made models for these piano and cello sonatas: Beethoven is breaking new and original ground here. The two sonatas share a similar and, for the period, unusual form. Sonata no.1 consists of two movements. The first movement begins with a slow introduction (Adagio) which leads without a pause into the main fast sonata form. The second movement is a lively rondo, in which a repeated principal theme alternates with contrasting episodes. There is no slow middle movement. Instead, the calm lyricism that generally typifies the inner movement appears here at the start in a meditative and rhapsodic prelude to the main action of the first movement. However you look at it, though, this is a wonderfully fresh, inventive, first-rate classical sonata, which was written before any of the great composer's violin sonatas, string quartets or symphonies. Manolis Lorentzos


I. Adagio sostenuto - Allegro
II. Rondo: Allegro vivace

Minoa Chamber Music Festival - SIMOS PAPANAS (b. 1979) - Sonata for violin and harp


Sonata for violin and harp

Prominent composers including Louis Spohr and Gaetano Donizetti may have attempted to write sonatas for violin and harp in the past, but while the two instruments really are a perfect match in terms of timbre, they have generally been assigned quite unequal roles, with one taking the lead and the other consigned to providing accompaniment. The Sonata by the great Greek violinist and composer Simos Papanas goes beyond simply filling this gap in the repertoire to literally blaze new trails in how these two instruments can play together in a chamber music context. Thus, while the violin and harp divide the stating and developing of thematic material between them, they also place their distinct expressive and timbral qualities at the service of the musical process, maintaining their aesthetic autonomy as they interact creatively and imaginatively. Both instruments are given the opportunity to engage with sensual solo monologues, as well as moments when, allowing chance to play a role in proceedings, they each take on a role entirely independent of the other. Most of the time, though, they embrace the other's sound and chart a joint course through the music. As in all his works, Papanas develops simple, clear material in a cerebrally sophisticated and architecturally sound way, but always against a background of undeniable emotion. Titos Gouvelis


Harp, Violin

Minoa Chamber Music Festival - MAURICE RAVEL (1875 — 1937) - MAURICE RAVEL (1875 — 1937)

MAURICE RAVEL (1875 — 1937)

MAURICE RAVEL (1875 — 1937)

opus 5 no.1

In the early years of the 20th century, despite their clear stylistic differences, Debussy and Ravel would both play a key role, as the most prominent figures in French serious music, in developing musical impressionism. On one occasion, however, the two would find themselves in a 'confrontation' of sorts, due to the competition between two concert harp manufacturers. This was because they would each champion a different solution to providing the harp with the full range of chromatic notes. Specifically, in 1903, the Pleyel company commissioned Debussy to write a work for chamber music ensemble which used their new chromatic harp. The commission resulted in the 1904 work Danse sacrée et Danse profane for harp and string quartet. Then, a year later, in 1905, the Érard company took up the challenge by offering Ravel a fee to showcase their own pedal harp. And so, soon afterwards, over what the composer described as "a week of constant work plus three sleepless nights", Ravel completed his Introduction and Allegro, which was written for an unusual ensemble consisting of harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet. Ravel's Introduction and Allegro is rarely performed in concert. Consisting of a single movement with two sections (a short introduction presents some crucial motifs that form the thematic substance of the Allegro that follows), the work can be seen as a sort of harp concerto writ small. The harp takes the lead in stating the main theme of the Allegro and develops a musical 'rivalry' with the rest of the ensemble before performing a solo cadenza which implicitly but clearly shines a flattering light on Érard, the manufacturer of the instrument. Nonetheless, the composer took care to create a true work of chamber music, with all the instruments contributing to a dazzling impressionism with clever gestures and textures and making balanced contributions to the musical development. There are those who point out from time to time, in an attempt to call the work's value into question, that Ravel would ultimately omit the Introduction and Allegro from his catalogue of works and fail to mention its composition in his autobiography. But by the same token, we should remember, too, that the piece was the first of very few works that Ravel recorded in 1923. Manolis Lorentzos