Songs for Hellas

op. 90, 2021

for Soprano or Tenor and Piano
Duration: 25 min.

Commissioned by Molyvos International Music Festival 2021
World premiere on 18.8.2021 in Molyvos/Lesbos, Greece

Dedicated to Danae and Kiveli Dörken and Julian Prégardien

Piano: Danae and Kiveli Dörken
Tenor: Julian Prégardien

Texts from “Lieder der Griechen“ by Wilhelm Müller
Die Geister der alten Helden am Tage der Auferstehung
Die Pforte
Lied vor der Schlacht
Alte und neue Tempel
Hellas und die Welt

Translation in Greek by Lenia Zafiropoulou (no 1) and Konstantia Gourzi (no 5)

Composer’s Notes

The composition Songs for Hellas for voice and piano is inspired by the the Greek Revolution of 1821 and the inner flame it has ignited in all of us.

The work is commissioned by the 2021 Molyvos International Music Festival. I dedicate this composition to the pianists and artistic directors of the festival, Danae and Kiveli Dörken, as well as to the tenor Julian Prégardien.

The texts of the Songs for Hellas are from the German poet and philhellene Wilhelm Müller. In these poems he gave a warm and passionate image of Greece and its people, to whom he dedicated them. Other well known lyrics by Müllers inspired Franz Schubert to his famous “Winterreise” and “Die schöne Müllerin”.

Although the texts seem to not fit very well to our days anymore after 200 years, they inspired me to create a transcendental sound bridge to somehow connect these two distant periods.

Using fragments of selected texts dealing with Greece from all over Müller´s oeuvre, I created the lyrics for my composition. I decided to use for the composition a part of the text in German and a part translated into Greek. I am convinced, through the two languages the flow and the energy of the messages creates a new level of freedom that moves dynamically between the sounds produced in German and Greek. In this way, through music, a whole new entity emerges.

My goal for this composition was to integrate traditional and modern sound elements. I experienced that at this level the ways of a peaceful coexistence become possible. They pleasantly surprise us, not only with the unexpected but with the commonplace as well, which may seem familiar, almost forgotten, but nonetheless possible.

This work, as well as the composition Hydra – The Rock of Freedom with a total of eight songs, belongs to the cycle of compositions with poems by Wilhelm Müller dedicated to Greece.

Photo: Nelly Tragousti