Easter in Konstantinopel – Because of the Word

11 moments between East und West

op. 37, 2009/10

I. Arrival night (orchestra)
II. Aria I – opended tulip (duo)
III. Vósporos (choir)
IV. Fanári – long before sunrise (tutti)
V. Aria II – without words (duo)
VI. Good Friday – long after sunset (tutti)
VII. Gálata Bridge – beginning (choir, soloists)
VIII. Gálata Bridge – end (choir, soloists)
IX. Easter Saturday – morning (tutti)
X. Aria III – without words (duo)
XI. Farewell night (tutti)

For orchestra, choir, a Byzantine style psalm singer and violin solo (5 strings-tenor-violin and double-strings-violin)
Instrumentation: –, timpani, 3 percussions, harp, strings
Duration: 43 min.

Commissioned by the Münchner Rundfunkorchester
World premiere: 2 July 2010, as part of the series “Paradisi Gloria” in the Herz Jesu church, Munich. Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, voice: Vassilis Agrokostas, violin: Miltiades Papastamov, conductor: Ulf Schirmer


Composer’s notes

This composition for orchestra, choir and two soloists was commissioned under the theme “logos”. Since “In the beginning was the word” is of Greek origin, I decided to take one or two lines from important works of the Greek history, e.g. from the Bible, from Homer, from Greek poets and from a the Greek author and priest Panagiotis Kapodistrias from the island of Zakynthos who continued these texts with his own poems.

When I visited Istanbul, I was fascinated by the sounds of the city. It seemed essential to structure the whole piece as a kind of sound bridge between East and West. Therefore, the title refers less to the sounds of Easter but more to the period of my visit. Then came the time to combine everything: the poems, the Byzantine, the improvised and the written music. My aim was to conflate all these musical elements from different origins to a new sound that embraces differences and similarities.

In the 11 moments pieces for orchestra, for orchestra and choir as well as only for choir alternate; in between there are intermezzi with the Byzantine style psalm singer and the violinist as duos. The violinist had two new instruments made in Athens especially for this composition: one instrument with five strings and one with eight strings. He plays between the written and dramaturgically composed music either solo parts or parts with the Byzantine style psalm singer and orchestra together. All 11 pieces are moments that characterise Istanbul (the former Konstantinopel) musically.


Audio sample