Cyprus, First Impressions

Carol Barnett

Innova 657 (www.innova.mu)

 

Track list:

 

1.  Cyprus: First Impressions                                                                                    [10:31]

                  Adam Kuenzel, alto flute; Michael Sutton, Laurie Petruconis, violins      

                  Susan Janda, viola; Laura Sewell, cello; David Berg, bass

 

2 - 4.  Vignettes, After Pierides

            I. The Incorrigible                                                                                           [6:18]

            II. Auto-da-fé                                                                                                  [4:33]

            III. A Song for Aunt Chrystallou                                                                  [5:31]

                  Claudia White, flute; Laura Sewell, cello; Marianne Fleming Bryant, piano

 

5 - 6.  Mythical Journeys

            I. Seferis: 5 from Mythical Story                                                                    [8:36]

            II. Cavafy: Ithaka                                                                                             [8:13]

                  Jane Garvin, flute; Christopher Kachian, guitar

 

7.  Ithaka                                                                                                                     [9:23]

                  Bradley Greenwald, baritone; Christopher Kachian, guitar

 

8 - 11.  Cyprian Suite

            I. Servikos (Serbian Dance)                                                                           [2:50]

            II. Aya Marina (Lullaby)                                                                                [5:25]

            III. Exomológhisis (Confession)                                                                      [3:15]

            IV. Agapisá Tin (I Loved Her)                                                                       [4:50]

                  University of Minnesota Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Craig Kirchhoff, conductor

 

 

Total duration:  69:25

 

 

 

[1] Cyprus: First Impressions (2000) [10:31]

 

    Adam Kuenzel, alto flute; Michael Sutton, Laurie Petruconis, violins; Susan Janda, viola;                                                   Laura Sewell, cello; David Berg, bass

 

A long-standing wish to write something for alto flute was realized thanks to this commission from  Sigma Alpha Iota.  Fresh from a trip to Cyprus, I made use of some of the sounds I heard there: the muezzin’s call  from a minaret in the Turkish quarter of Nicosia, the cry of a fruit vendor in the old city, fragments of the traditional Greek Cypriot wedding song.  The dance section is in the Greek style, including the accompaniment figure of dotted eighth, sixteenth, and two eighths.  The mood of the beginning and end is contemplative, reflecting on the seemingly intractable problem of a politically divided country.

 

 

[2-4] Vignettes: After Pierides  (2001)

            I. The Incorrigible  [6:18]

            II. Auto-da-fé  [4:33]

            III. A Song for Aunt Chrystallou  [5:31]

 

Claudia White, flute; Laura Sewell, cello; Marianne Fleming Bryant, piano

 

Vignettes, After Pierides  was commissioned by the Minnesota Music Teachers Association in honor of their 100th Anniversary.  It is based on three short selections from Tetralogy of the Times: Stories of Cyprus by George Philippou Pierides, translated by Donald E. Martin and Soterios G. Stavrou.

 

Much of “The Incorrigible” takes place at the annual dance of the Hunter’s Club.  The music, based on two folk songs (Oniro, about a beautiful garden, and Karpasitissa, about a lonely person far from home), seeks to evoke the close connection of the main character, a writer, to nature and the land.  These tunes are later twisted by short, brittle dance rhythms into a noisy party.  The movement ends with a return to the simple melody of Karpasitissa.   ...to leave, to climb up by himself to the clean air of the mountain, to leave behind him the garbage of the city and the incomprehensible hierarchy of its values.”

 

 “Auto-da-fé” describes  an incident in which a poor leftist workman is stoned to death by his fellow villagers.  Musical materials include the underlying tension of perpetual sixteenth notes, fragments of psalter hymns (the few voices of reason) and strong repeated quarter notes (the defiant stance of the outcast worker), all finally overwhelmed by the brutal punctuations of the piano.  “...hard times have come, and enmity and fear have throttled everything.”

 

 “A Song for Aunt Chrystallou” is a paean to one of those admirable older women who, if we are lucky, we can find in our own lives--aunts, mothers, grandmothers, women who are the spiritual center of the family and the lifeblood of the community.  Perhaps the music is more nostalgic than I had planned.  Yet so often the best things we do in life are done to remember and honor the past, and to build on it.  The folk song used in this movement is Mas or Klithonas,  sung by young girls while fortune-telling on St. John’s Day in the spring.  Karpasitissa, used in the first movement, also makes a partial appearance.  “..your life...stood solidly because it was rooted in something true and necessary and real..which springs from yesterday and leads us into tomorrow.”

 

 

[5-6] Mythical Journeys (1991)

            I. Seferis: 5 from Mythical Story  [8:36]

            II. Cavafy: Ithaka  [8:13]

 

    Jane Garvin, flute; Chris Kachian, guitar

 

    Inspired by the works of modern Greek poets George Seferis and Constantine Cavafy, Mythical Journeys was commissioned by the Upper Midwest Flute Association and the Minnesota Guitar Society.  Seferis ponders “our friends, lost forever beyond the ocean.”  Cavafy advises, “When you set out on your journey to Ithaka, pray that the road may be long, full of adventure, full of knowledge.”

 

[7] Ithaka (2001) [9:23]

 

Bradley Greenwald, baritone; Chris Kachian, guitar

 

Ithaka

 

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,

pray that the road may be long,

full of adventures, full of knowledge.

Laestrygonians and Cyclopes,

angry Poseidon, do not fear them,

for such things you will never encounter on your way

if your thought remains lofty, if a noble

emotion touches your spirit and your body.

The Laestrygonians and Cyclopes,

fierce Poseidon you will not encounter,

if you do not harbor them within your soul,

if your soul does not raise them up before you.

 

Pray that the road may be long.

May the summer mornings be many

when with intense pleasure and joy

you will enter harbors seen for the first time;

stop at Phoenician market places,

and buy good merchandise,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

and pleasurable perfumes of every kind,

abundant pleasurable perfumes, as many as you can;

travel to many Egyptian cities

to learn endlessly from the learnéd.

 

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

Arriving there is your ultimate purpose.

But do not hurry the journey in the least.

Better that it last for many years,

and that finally you anchor at your island old,

blessed with all that you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaca to give you riches.

 

Ithaca gave you the splendid journey.

Without her you would not have set out.

She has nothing more to give you.

 

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.

Wise as you have become, with so much experience,

you must have understood already what Ithacas mean.

 

translation: Theofanis G. Stavrou

 

 

[8-11] Cyprian Suite  (2002; Boosey & Hawkes)

I. Servikos (Serbian Dance)  [2:50]

II. Aya Marina (Lullaby)  [5:25]

III. Exomológhisis (Confession)  [3:15]

IV. Agapisá Tin (I Loved Her)  [4:50]

 

Angela Baranello, piccolo; Cindy Friedman, John Roper, flute; Sarah Boyle, oboe; Luke Opel, Ann Stimmel, bassoon; Lauren Bantz, Laura Odegaard, Corey Quinton, Paul Schimming, Merlin von Frankenberg, clarinet; Jerry McDonald, bass clarinet; William Kelly, Matt Tremel, alto saxophone; Stephen Page, tenor saxophone; James Prindiville, baritone saxophone; Mat Boatright, Lindsay Brown, horn; Richard Adams, Anna Deutsch, Chris Morgan, trumpet; Dan Bussian, Nikki Dobell-McCaslin, Ryan Terronez, trombone; Victor Barranco, baritone; Stephen Kac, Mike Werner, tuba; William Callohan, Matthew Dockendorf, Brian Duffy, Reid Kennedy, percussion; Craig Kirchhoff, conductor

 

Each movement of the Suite is based on a Cypriot folk song.  “Servikos” is an instrumental dance in Serbian style, often played on the violin.  In “Aya Marina,” a mother asks Saint Marina to take her baby to the world of sweet dreams and bring it safely back.  She entrusts her baby to sleep, which will take her child and give it back to her grown up like a cypress tree, with branches extending from East to West.  In “Exomológhisis,” a man who had a lot of love affairs went to his priest to confess.  The priest advised him to start a new life and stop having affairs.  The man replied, “Father, if you deny the Holy Communion and the Divine Service, then I will deny love.”  In “Agapisá Tin,” the singer complains, “I loved her from the bottom of my heart, but she was indifferent, and I have suffered.”

 

 

A longtime presence on the Minnesota music scene, Carol Barnett is a charter member of the American Composers Forum and a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she studied composition with Dominick Argento and Paul Fetler, piano with Bernard Weiser, and flute with Emil J. Niosi. She was composer-in-residence with the Dale Warland Singers from 1992 to 2001, and received the 2003 Nancy Van de Vate International Prize for Opera for her chamber opera, Snow. Her commissions include works for the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Harvard Glee Club, the Westminster Abbey Choir, and the Children’s Theatre of Minneapolis.  She teaches at Augsburg College.

 

 

Credits

Producer: Carol Barnett

engineers: Fred Opie (Cyprus: First Impressions; Vignettes, After Pierides; Mythical Journeys; Ithaka)

            Nick Kereakos (Cyprian Suite)

Editing: Carol Barnett, Fred Opie

Mastering: Fred Opie

 

 

Recording Locations

Sundin Hall, Hamline University (Vignettes, After Pierides - November 2001)

Sateren Hall, Augsburg College (Cyprus: First Impressions - November 2002; Mythical Journeys -                        June 2003; Ithaka - November 2003)

Ted Mann Concert Hall, University of Minnesota (Cyprian Suite - May 2005)

 

 

Special Thanks

Theofanis Stavrou, Soterios Stavrou, the Inter-University Research Committee on Cyprus, Ruth Keshishian, the Schubert Club, Jerry Luckhardt, Timothy Diem, Jay Johnson

 

 

This recording was made possible by a Mid-Career Grant from the Jerome Foundation, and a McKnight Composer Fellowship administered by the American Composers Forum.

 

innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Director, layout: Philip Blackburn

Operations Manager: Chris Campbell