This web site is dedicated to Greek composer
(The Fall of Constantinople)
This is Kalomiris' last work and opera and his most important artistic achievement in his own opinion, completed 3 months before his death.It is based on a play by Nikos Kazantzakis dealing with historical legend rather than fact. It explores, though, the very real and tragic choice facing Byzantium during its last phase, between the Catholic West and the Ottoman East which bitterly divided the byzantine church and state.
Kazantzakis play is in four acts. Kalomiris libretto is in three. It follows Kazantzakis acts 1 and 4 accurately but merges acts 2 and 3 into one central act. It makes an important change: Anna, a heroine with no personal relationship to Paleologos, in Kazantzakis' play, becomes his beloved in Kalomiris' libretto. Thus the theme of love and death is present in Paleologos as in all the previous music dramas by Kalomiris. The last emperor of Byzantium - is portrayed as a hero who sacrifices himself knowing that there is no hope of saving the holy city of Virgin Mary.
The protagonist of the drama is not, however, Paleologos but "The People" - the triple chorus - that begs and protests, threatens and prays, hopes and fears and dominates the first and third acts. It represents the psyche of the Greek people where the legend of the last fallen King has occupied a central place for five centuries. The marble King will one day awaken to deliver them from the accursed Frangi and Turks! Thus the theme of the drama is not the history of the fall of Constantinople but the legend of the fall and Kalomiris has appropriately dedicated it to the Greek People.
Nevertheless Paleologos is also a personal final statement by Kalomiris, re-capitulating the themes that have preoccupied him from the beginning of his artistic life, obsessed with death and looking for beauty, meaning and salvation in death and through death. Kalomiris, in his own note on the work, identifies personally with the last Emperor seeing himself as a hero engaged in a hopeless struggle where desperation becomes a creative force.
At the end of his life Kalomiris had reasons to feel "desperate" with the way Greece's national and artistic life were developing. Nevertheless the careful student of Kalomiris life and work will notice that this kind of identification springs more from his own psychological makeup and less from the surrounding objective situation. His two first dramas are written during a decade when both his personal and his political dreams and goals seemed within easy reach and yet they are permeated by the same preoccupation with unattainable ideals, death and sacrifice. A clear perception of Kalomiris narcisstic obsession with personal and/or national glory and with death, of his megalomania and of his pessimism, does not diminish respect for the unique composer and for his capacity to evoke in his music the ghosts and deities of his Greek soul like no one else.
The same ghosts and deities, the same fears and hopes are easily discernible in Greece, today. The conflict between the Archbishop and Prime-minister has an eerie resemblence with the conflict between Abbot and Emperor and a visit by the Pope awakens the nightmare of the crusades...
The musical language of the work represents the most refined and sophisticated version of Kalomiris' personal meta -Wagnerian, national, idiom. All the music springs from one central thematic source. In it are intertwined byzantine hymns and the rythms and modes of Greek folk song. At 79 Kalomiris' melodic inventiveness seems unexhausted. The use of byzantine hymns seems all the more impressive because they seem to retain their monophonic purity within a complex polyphonic counterpoint.
Hari Politopoulos, February 2001.
from a recording kindly provided by producer Hristos Tsenes, from the 1997 performance of PALEOLOGOS in Thessaloniki with the Schuman Philharmonic, the Thessaloniki Chorus and Music College Children under Fidetzis.
Closing scene OLDMAN : Psyhas, PYROVATIS : Sigalos
A time will come ANNA : Arapi
Full libretto in Greek
Kalomiris own introduction in Greek
A Chronology of the work's life in Greek
A CD with Kalomiris' Rhapsodies and Symphonic Poems released by PHORMIGX (firstname.lastname@example.org tel. +301-9245303 /323 Fax +301-9212568) with Byron Fidetzis conducting the Russian State Symphonic Capella, with Nina Kaloutsa (soprano) in The Peddler and Eva Kotamanidou as narrator in St Luke's Monastery.New texts have been added to this web site, by Kalomiris himself and by others including notes on the works of the above CD.
Symphony No 1, the "Levendia" Symphony, is Kalomiris' most popular work.
Miltiades Caridis conducting the Orchestra of the Austrian Radio and the Wiener Singverein chorus, performing the "Levendia" symphony, in the hall of the Musikverein, in October,1986.This, recording is available to download or as a "made to order" CD at musicmaker.com. and as a regular CD coupled with "Magic Herbs" from the record company LYRA.
Read & Listen!JPEG files and MP3 filesYou can download the piano score and the Caridis- -Evangelatos recording of the prelude and first 3 songs from MAGIC HERBS here.
The complete ANOYANAKIS CATALOGUE is now available in English. The rendering of Greek words in English, is unfortunately often different from what is used elsewhere on this web site. There is no perfectly correct answer to this problem. Readers must bear with the fact that the same Greek word can be rendered as LEVENDIA, LEVENTIA or LEVEDIA and PALEOLOGOS is also spelled PALAIOLOGOS. There should be no doubt however about the correct spelling of Kalomiris' name. KALOMIRIS is the established spelling in English . It is used in the GROVES DICTIONARY OF MUSIC, in HARVARD and in all the records and CDs released in the last 20 years.
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