Sappho-Zyklus, Hommage à György Kurtág for soprano or mezzo soprano and piano / Narcissa-Arie for soprano or mezzo soprano / Eva-Ave for soprano or mezzo soprano (first print)
(born in Athens/Greece, 31 March 1962)
Konstantia Gourzi’s name often appears as composer as well as conductor in the announcements of her concerts. Her portfolio of compositions includes not only operas, film music and works for music theatre and orchestra, but also numerous solo pieces and chamber music. Konstantia Gourzi’s musical work is documented in detail through radio recordings, television broadcasts and live streams. Recordings of her extensive discography were released at ECM, NEOS, NAXOS and SONY Classical.
Sappho-Zyklus, Hommage à György Kurtág
The composition Sappho-Zyklus is one single piece, based on a text by Sappho. The title “Cycle” refers not to the number of pieces but the completeness of Sappho’s text.
In 1995, the Hungarian composer György Kurtág wrote a piece for soprano and piano with this text and dedicated it to me. In return, I composed a new piece with the same text and dedicated it to him. The piano doesn’t accompany the singer the usual way, but prepares the singing and reacts to the sung text. Originally, Sappho-Zyklus was meant for soprano, but can be performed also by other voices like mezzosoprano or baritone.
Théthike men a selána ke Pliáthes mése de Níktes.
Pará d´érchete óra egó de móna katévdo.
Eros th´etinaxé mi frénas ós ánemos
Kat´óros thrísin ebéton.
Conducting Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 43 in E flat major was the starting point for the examination of his unknown and fragmentary conveyed works. Fascinated by “Philemon und Baucis”, a work that is rooted in Greek mythology and its gods, a complementary composition was created.
The Narcissa Aria is part of this composition project. Here, Opera is conceived as musical text and play in which singer-actors appear on stage not as “perfect voices” but as mediums of verbal articulateness combined with physical presence and emotions.
Eva Ave is a scenic composition for soprano or mezzo-soprano and is based on passages from the poem “Eva” by Eva Maria Brandin. The first of two parts is made of noise-like sounds, with almost hysteric sounds, which represent a situation of insecurity and anxiety about one’s loneliness and nudity, about the perception of one’s “sins”. From here, the composition slowly leads into the second part that is sung in a more traditional manner.
This dramaturgic order is reversing the text of Eva Maria Branding who describes the transition from paradise to a fearful world. Eva Ave conveys musically that there is also the possibility to move on from angst into the light. In the beginning, the singer is covered in black drapery and liberates herself from it during the performance until eventually appearing in white.
Konstantia Gourzi – A biographical essay > READ