Mikis Theodorakis: Piano Concerto (1958)

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As usual I find inspiration in writing a new post when finding a new video, special video. Also today, and without any hesitation I would like to share the music with you: some parts of the Piano Concerto, (soundtrack plus a part of a live concert, both with Elena Mouzoulas, piano, in a concert with Miltiadis Caridis as the director) and a full version (soundtrack), with Cyprien Katsaris, pianoforte, the Orchestre Symphonique de RTL, and Mikis Theodorakis as the director.

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Article, written in 2004 by Andreas Brandes and translated by the Greek Piano-Master Tatiana Papageorgiou:

CONCERTO FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA, AST 108
Composition: 5.11.1957-21.3.1958
New coda: December 1996
Movements:
1. Allegro ma non troppo
2. Andante
3. Finale
Creation: Piraeus, 1966
Aliki Vatikioti, piano

Popular Symphony Orchestra of Piraeus
Director: Mikis Theodorakis

 

Tatiana_Papageorgiou

Premiere with the new coda: May 25, 1998
Queen Elisabeth Hall, London
Tatiana Papageorgiou, piano, The London Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Mikis Theodorakis

The Piano Concerto belongs to the composer’s Parisian period (1955-1960), and was composed at the request of the British pianist Eileen Joyce (1957), who paradoxically, it never reached.

Eileen_Joyce

It was preceded by the Suite No.1 for Piano and Orchestra (1955), where the composer’s attitude towards the piano as a solo instrument has an entire individual character.

The latter is an impetuous, almost violent, work. It combines elements of twelve-tone writing with the dazzling music of Crete, its archetypal rhythms and its Doric quintessence.

So, in contrast to the Suite, the composer attempted, through the Piano Concerto, a different approach to the piano as a solo instrument, as well as the orchestra, which provides a context for the dialogue between piano and orchestra.

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The First Movement of the Concerto                                                                                    

In 1957-58, Theodorakis discovered the technique of Tetrachords, which he employed in the First Movement of the Concerto. This technique, in combination with the lyrical character of the musical themes, creates an individual lyrical-reflective mood. It suggests an inner tranquility, which can be seen as a general sign of maturity in Theodorakis as a composer. In addition to the tetrachordic elements, one can hear sparkling themes based on the national music of Greece.

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The Second Movement of the Concerto                                                                                

The Second Movement of the Concerto, elegiac and dramatic with tragic overtones, introduces its theme by using twelve-tone (dodecachordic) systems, culminating in free, melodic and harmonic combinations, in achieving a crescendo of dramatic excitement.

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The Third Movement of the Piano Concerto, the Finale

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and a creative version of the third movement with interesting ideas about music:

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Such themes emerge in the third and last movement of the Piano Concerto as an exciting dance from Crete. This is reminiscent of the Finale of the Suite, but the difference is that, in contrast to the Dionysian character of the Suite, the Concerto maintains its lyrical and reflective character.

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The full version (audio only)

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Sources and additional information    

Updated: 19 November 2015

About "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis"

The blog "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis" started in 2010. The not-for-profit activities of the initiator were and are to collect, create and publish information about the MUSIC of the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis via YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and this blog. Sources for this information are utterly strictly related with Mikis Theodorakis' Music only. The icon is a bouzouki. It is Greece's national symbol for freedom. During the Regime of the Colonels (Military Junta, 1967-1974) the bouzouki was forbidden. Mikis Theodorakis used this authentic Greek instrument in almost all his compositions, and Greeks were listening to Theodorakis's music in the underground scene, during the Military Junta time.
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