P-ILION, nine fragments of an eternity

String quartet no. 2

op. 33/2, 2007

I. breath in, 7.19 pm
II. breath out, 8.12 pm
III. tettix, 10.15 pm
IV. jasmine, 10.22 pm
V. secret, 10.55 pm
VI. once upon a time, 11.17 pm
VII. wind, 11.47 pm
VIII. dance, 12.00 pm
IX. night flower, 1.11 am

For string quartet
Duration: 12 min.

Commissioned by Kasseler Musiktage 2007
World premiere: 10 November 2007, Kasseler Musiktage. Athena Quartett

Publisher: Musikproduktion Höflich München, Repertoire & Opera Explorer, Gourzi Edition

Composer’s notes

Often a powerful experience does not last long and yet we think it lasts an eternity. Like the times of inhaling and exhaling: they are short, but one has the feeling that they last a long time. These moments are what keep us alive.

PILION is a region in Greece. Its nature is very pure and intensive. I was there when I started composing the piece. The Greek capital letter “P” is the Π (Pi), that was interpreted in the ancient Greek language as a symbol for gate or door. ILION comes from the Greek word ILIOS = sun = light. Thus, with the title of the piece I intend a meaning of “gate to the light” – which is at the same time how I experienced PILION.

The miniatures describe moments that lead to the light. They are meant to create an intensity of expression that force me to experience the time with a higher intensity and be able to feel the echo differently. The numbers next to the titles are times. The time stands still when the event is so intense that it changes the perception of time.

I notice more and more clearly that the flow of time becomes faster, so that the danger of losing the pulse of life becomes greater and greater. The nine miniatures of this composition are to be performed as a whole work with nine flowing movements. The pauses that occur between the pieces are to be observed as pauses of tension. The accuracy of the rhythm and the clear breath of the phrases plays a very important role in the intense energy flow of the composition.

Press reviews

“Gourzis Stücke tragen oft außermusikalische Titel. Sie verweisen auf Begegnungen, Gefühle, Atmosphären und Stimmungen, die zu musikalischen Ideen geworden und in ihre Kompositionen eingeflossen sind. (…) Der Ton ihrer Erzählungen mag gelegentlich entfernt an Debussy, Schumann oder Skrjabin erinnern oder mit expressiven Gesten und atonalem Furor direkt an die Moderne anknüpfen; Gourzis Musik berührt stets unmittelbar, nicht zuletzt dank der inspirierten Darbietungen von Lorenda Ramou (Klavier) und dem Ensemble Coriolis.”

Klassik Akzente, 8 October 2014



Konstantia Gourzi: Music for Piano and String Quartet

ECM Records, ECM New Series 2309, 2014

Lorenda Ramou and Ensemble Coriolis