Gourzi, Konstantia – Rezitativ Antigone for Soprano or Tenor and Piano (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.
Rezitativ Antigone, “Antigone’s Recitative”, is a commission for the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Conservatory Competition 2020. Its text is taken from Sophocles’s eponymous tragedy, where King Creon tells Antigone that she will be killed if she buries her brother, Polynices, who has fallen in battle.
In the part of the text that is set to music, Antigone tells her sister Ismene about Creon’s order. She also says that she will bury her brother at all costs. She is therefore sentenced to death, but it is more important to her to stay faithful to the living and to the dead, than it is to go on living herself.
Antigone is angry, but self-possessed, and she wants to act. On the other hand, Ismene is frightened of Creon’s power, and refuses to join in. Antigone decides to carry out her intention, one which is born of love and is commanded by the Gods, alone.
By setting this powerful material to music, I would like to encourage both musicians and audiences to consider what is worth fighting for. Rezitativ Antigone portrays the drama of internal conflict, and interprets this emotionally highly-charged material. Its material is antique, but still highly relevant today.
The text is sung in Ancient Greek. The composition requires a sense of horizontal flow: its melodies and rhythms evoke an archaic atmosphere, which is important for the interpretation. Rhythms and time changes should flow smoothly throughout the piece.
Original text by Sophocles
ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲν αὐτῷ τῶν ἐμῶν μ᾽ εἴργειν μέτα. (48)
οὔτ᾽ ἂν κελεύσαιμ᾽ οὔτ᾽ ἄν, εἰ θέλοις ἔτι (69)
πράσσειν, ἐμοῦ γ᾽ ἂν ἡδέως δρῴης μέτα.
ἀλλ᾽ ἴσθ᾽ ὁποῖά σοι δοκεῖ, κεῖνον δ᾽ ἐγὼ
θάψω· καλόν μοι τοῦτο ποιούσῃ θανεῖν.
φίλη μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ κείσομαι, φίλου μέτα,
ὅσια πανουργήσασ᾽. ἐπεὶ πλείων χρόνος
ὃν δεῖ μ᾽ ἀρέσκειν τοῖς κάτω τῶν ἐνθάδε.
ἐκεῖ γὰρ αἰεὶ κείσομαι· σοὶ δ᾽, εἰ δοκεῖ,
τὰ τῶν θεῶν ἔντιμ᾽ ἀτιμάσασ᾽ ἔχε.
Er (Kreon) hat kein Recht von den Meinen mich zu trennen.
Ich knie nicht vor Dir nieder (Ismene). Auch wenn Du Deine Meinung änderst,
freudig werde ich Deine Hilfe nicht annehmen.
Behalte Deine Illusionen. Ich allein werde ihn begraben.
Es gefällt mir, dies zu tun, auch wenn ich sterben werde.
Neben dem Liebenden werde ich als Liebende liegen.
Heilige Schande. Längere Zeit
werden sich die in der Unterwelt über mich freuen, als die Hiesigen.
Denn dort werde ich für immer ruhen. Wenn Du es so willst, verachte
das, was die Götter verehren.
(Übersetzung: Konstantia Gourzi)
He (Creon) has no right to separate me from my loved ones.
I do not kneel before you (Ismene). Even if you change your mind,
I will gladly not accept your help.
Keep your illusions. I will bury him alone.
It pleases me to do this, even if I will die.
I will lie beside him, beloved with beloved.
In holy shame. For a long time
Those in the Underworld will rejoice over me as one of them.
Because there I will rest forever. If you want it your way, go ahead
Dishonour what the gods worship.
(Translation: Konstantia Gourzi)
Konstantia Gourzi – A biographical essay > READ