CULTURE

Yiannis Christou lives on

Scores with drawings, geometrical shapes, and the words panic, smile and tableau vivant written on them, and writing made up of letters and musical notation – Yiannis Christou was an unusual composer. Though considered to be one of the most important 20th-century figures in his field, he remained unknown to the general public for years because there were no recordings of his work. The Seirios recording label has filled the gap with four CDs containing 14 works by Christou (for a full orchestra, choir and small ensembles). Ten of the recordings were made when the works were performed for the first time. Christou himself rehearsed, conducted and supervised the performances. Composer Stephanos Vassiliadis collected and prepared the compositions with Christou’s daughter, Sandra, who told a press conference on December 5: The dreams and expectations of 30 years have come true in the best possible way. I hope there will be more editions and performances, so that Yiannis Christou will at last become known to the Greek public. Vassiliadis said that Christou was someone who believed in having his work played by people who understood his spirit. Composer Christos Leontis has already transferred Christou’s work Agamemnon, one of his drama works, onto a score and will do the same for the Persians. But the music to the plays will not be recorded until a sponsor is found to help defray the cost. The Constantinos and Emma Doxiades Foundation funded the first four CDs. Together with the CDs are leaflets containing photographs and texts by the composer, accompanied by various comments on his work by musicologists.