Uniting 20th century music styles

Composer Periklis Koukos’s «Diary for Passers-by» is an unusual production by Greek standards. No matter how hard one looks into 20th century Greek music, it is difficult to come across works combining contemporary «classical» music with rock and jazz elements, as Koukos has. The «Diary,» first presented at the Athens Concert Hall eight years ago, will be performed for the first time tonight at an open-air venue: the Herod Atticus Theater. «A journey uniting these three kinds of music which prevailed during the last century is created,» said Koukos at a recent press conference and revealed he wrote the music especially for Maria Farandouri’s voice, which he described as «deep with expressive nuances.» The stage cantata is based on texts by Christoforos Christofis’s book of the same title and is divided into three parts. The parts, in turn, are united with improvisation-style interludes, where complex rhythms alternate with lyrical melodies. This will be the first time that a symphony orchestra, the NDR Simfonienorchester Hannover, will join forces with a jazz-rock act (Giorgos Fakanas’s band) for a Koukos work. Actor Lakis Lazopoulos will also take the stage as narrator and so will counter-tenor Nikos Spanos, who joins top vocalist Farandouri. Christofis’s texts come from his personal diary, in which recorded his life in Paris when he was 17. He describes his own diary as a poetic, thoughtful and biting work full of impressions, memories and meetings, and describing a young man’s wanderings through the great cities of the 20th century. Different approach Tonight’s performance will differ from the original 1996 performance at the Athens Concert Hall. «Back then we chose a more cinematic approach,» Koukos said. «Our current approach will be closer to painting, with an expressionist look.» The evening will open with a selection of Spanish folk songs, which Farandouri had sung and recorded in the past. Guitarist Antigone Goni will perform the songs, which were originally selected and written down by Federico Garcia Lorca. Koukos initially selected nine of these songs, which he worked on, and eventually only kept seven. He created new compositions without vocals and prose, resulting in the symphony suite that will be performed tonight. The sets are designed by Anna Machairianaki, the choreography is by Ersi Pitta and the lights by Nikos Kavvoukidis. The NDR Simfonienorchester Hannover will be conducted by Nikos Tsouchlos and the Athens Festival Choir will be led by Antonis Kontogeorgiou. Giorgos Fakanas is responsible for the orchestration of the jazz-fusion orchestra; the Giorgos Fakanas group, which will also participate, consists of musicians Dimos Dimitriadis (tenor saxophone and flute), Vassilis Tziatzias (electric guitar), Christos Rafailidis (vibraphone), Giorgos Fakanas (bass) and Nikos Kapilidis (drums). The Herod Atticus Theater is situated below the Acropolis. Tickets are available at the theater’s box office and the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.928.2900. For credit card bookings, call the same number.