op. 35c, 2009

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

Extended version for string quartet 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 Delphi source and daughter of the God of rivers Acheloos. The oracle priest Pythia went every time from the temple of Apollon to this source to get the inspiration for her prophecies. Kastalia is my source for this composition for harp and string quartet.

The first movement features a rhythmic ostinato by the strings, while the solo instrument plays a quasi-archaic melody. It is followed by a dialogue between strings and solo instrument. The third movement is a synthesis of the first and second movement in the form of a concentrated miniature.

The original version of Kastalia was commissioned by Harry Otten for harp and string quartet. Later I extended the piece with two additional movements for solo harp between the existing tutti parts. Also, I worked on this version for saz and string quartet together with saz player Michalis Cholevas and eventually recorded it for NEOS. It was a fascinating task to mix the sounds of the traditional saz and the string quartet and prove that the well tempered and the traditionally tempered can coexist if no separation between them is sensed. In the past, Kastalia has also been played with lyre and guitar as solo instruments.

Audio sample




Konstantia Gourzi
Conjunctions – Synápsies

NEOS 11035, 2010

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