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guitar and string orchestra

"Lament for the Balkans"


Lament for the Balkans (1999) for guitar, strings and mezzo-soprano

A work that deals with the notion of Death, an aspect that has intrigued and inspired me for the last 20 years with respect to my composition and performances.

The tragic situation of all wars in our world compels me as a creator and performer to express sometimes feelings through my music. Not my intention lately though, when I feel that my music should be departed from my likes and dislikes but ten years ago and by having that time this thought I did compose the Lament (for the Balkans) that was written during the devastating time of the former Yugoslavia.

Is it possible that my music would be able to transfer a message against war and to evoke feelings towards peace? Probably not, but as a creator I have the moral obligation and at the same time the right to fight using my weapons against any type of war that causes violence, abandonment, and misery.

The guitar has a concertante attitude during the 13 minutes of the Lament and mostly is written in an exploratory chamber music interaction, rather than a virtuoso writing that usually promotes mostly the solo instrument. A dance like passage portrays the life that still goes on during a war and a nostalgic melody that unfolds in the string section brings hope for better times. Towards the end a voice of a devastating mother who cries for her loss takes the primary role to finish the work in an unconventional way.

Lament (for the Balkans) was premiered at the V International Music/Guitar Congress - Festival of Corfu in July 1999 by the Ionion Conservatory String Orchestra, Theodore Antoniou, conductor and the composer in the guitar part.

The US premiere occurred at Carnegie Hall with and soon after at the Hamptons Music Festival in Bridgehampton, in June and July 2003, with Lukas Foss conducting The Atlantic Chamber Orchestra and Apostolos Paraskevas on the guitar part. The latest performances took place in St.Petersburg Russia last January at the Capella Hall and in Thessaloniki, Greece.

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