Astrolávos, the Angel at the Bottom of the Sea

Nine Constellations

op. 68, 2015/16

I. the scream – intenso
II. the dance – lirico
III. mumble – galleggiante, religioso
IV. astonishing – leggiero ma ben marcato
V. a short dream – molto calmo
VI. lullaby – canto
VII. longing – molto legato, intenso
VIII. time zone – canto da una distanza
IX. silence – liberi, in movimento

For oboe solo
Duration: 11 min.

Commissioned by Francois Leleux
World premiere: 23 January 2016, Radialsystem, Ultraschall Festival Berlin. Oboe: Francois Leleux


Composer’s notes

Astrolávos for oboe solo is the third piece in a composition series for varying ensembles dedicated to angels. These angels, created by painters and sculptors who are close friends, inspired me to embark on this series, to give the angels sounds and portray them as musically alive.

Astrolávos is the name of the antique astrolabe – a dial to measure the altitudes of the sun and the stars – which was found on the seabed near the Greek island Antikýthira. The astrolabe was equipped with a highly complicated mechanism, which allowed it to show certain constellations of our solar system very precisely. It has inspired me to a musical interpretation. The piece consists of nine miniatures that are played one after the other while keeping a continuous “pulse” – just like a mechanical clock. That way, a particular temporal rhythm is created.

The titular picture “Astrolávos” came about at the same time as the composition itself, in collaboration with the Greek artist Yannis Gourzis.

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Yannis Gourzis, Astrolavos, digital paintaing, 2015 © Yannis Gourzis; Francois Leleux and Konstantia Gourzi, photo: Norbert Banik