op. 35c, 2009

I. Sinking
II. Arrival
III. Breath in
IV. The Sayings
V. Breath out
VI. Farewell

Extended version for string quartet or string orchestra and harp or saz or guitar
Duration: 18 min.

World premiere: 4 September 2009, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Harp: Lavinia Meijer, Ruysdael Kwartet


Composer’s notes

Kastalia is the Nymph of the Delphic source and daughter of the river god Acheloos. The oracle priestess Pythia went from the temple of Apollo to this source to get the inspiration for her prophecies. Kastalia is also my source and inspiration for this composition which unfolds like a sonic ritual for the preparation of the prophecies.

The first movement Sinking features a rhythmic ostinato by the strings, while the solo instrument plays a quasi-archaic melody. It is immediately followed by a dialogue between the two sound bodies, emphasized by dancing rhythms. In the second movement Arrival, a calm mood is created by chords, which serve as the tonal conclusion of the first two movements. The third movement Breath in serves as the soloist’s cadenza and forms the tonal transition to the next tutti movement. The next movement The Sayings arises from a vital dialogue between the soloists and the strings, which expands to a strong expression with dance-like, rhythmic elements. The fifth movement Breath out is the soloist’s second cadenza and serves as a transition to the last movement Farewell. This movement begins with a melody, first led by the violins, until finally all strings join the soloists in performing the epilogue of the composition.

The original version of the piece for harp and string quartet was a shorter one. The work was later expanded with two movements for solo harp between the already existing tutti movements.

The solo part of Kastalia op. 35c can be played either by lyre, guitar or the traditional instrument saz. The Saz was used in the recording for the NEOS-CD Synápsies. Mixing the traditional instrument with strings was a delightful task and showed once again that the well temperament can coexist with the “traditional” temperament in this cas



Audio sample




CD Konstantia Gourzi: Conjunctions – Synápsies
Konstantia Gourzi: Conjunctions – Synápsies

NEOS, 11035, 2010

Apollon Musagète Quartett, Vassilis Agrokostas, Michalis Cholevas, Christian Elsässer, Konstantia Gourzi