UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Constantinople

A Canadian composer melodically brings two worlds of music together

By Gregg Redner

Constantinople
By Christos Hatzis
(Analekta
)

While sacred CDs make up only a small portion of my annual music purchases, I have indeed bought one extraordinary CD this past year: composer Christos Hatzis’s Constantinople, which was nominated in 2008 for a Juno Award.

Hatzis, a member of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, has composed many choral compositions and received numerous international awards. Constantinople is scored for chamber ensemble, choir and soloists and comprises eight movements, drawn from liturgical texts and a variety of poetic sources.

Listeners should not approach this work assuming they will find something familiar and comfortable. This is a challenging but highly rewarding composition, which combines a number of musical syntaxes and styles that will be new to many. Hatzis draws upon the quasi-improvisational techniques of Eastern music and its variety of melodic and harmonic constructions. There is also a strong suggestion of Western plainsong, which creates a sense of rhythmic freedom that brings both elevation and disequilibrium, propelling the work ahead with a fervour that is both brutal and tender.

The blending of East and West reminds me of how Astor Piazzolla, the great bandoneon player, managed to unite the worlds of the popular tango and classical chamber music in his great opera Maria of Buenos Aires. Perhaps Hatzis’s greatest gift to us is to bring together two worlds that appear locked in a perpetual dance of misunderstanding. 

Gregg Redner is music director at Metropolitan United in London, Ont.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Announcement

New Observer editor and CEO, Jocelyn Bell. Photo by Lindsay Palmer

New editor named

by Observer Staff

Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

A perfect send-off

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

Promotional Image

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

November 2017

Grey matter

by Trisha Elliott

Is consciousness just a function of the brain — or something more?

Promotional Image