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ClassicsOnline Home » MOUZAS: Music for an Imaginary Film / Prima Materia / Monologue / Thought Forms / Lucid Dream
The Greek composer Alexandros Mouzas has written orchestral music and collaborated with leading Greek choreographers. He is active in image-related music and has written material for short films, television series, documentaries and commercials. He draws inspiration from various sources, with Prima Materia suggested by alchemy theories. Monologue is an unusual concerto for the cor anglais.
By David Denton
Alexandros Mouzas was born in 1962 and was musically educated in his native Greece, his compositions now placing him among the nation’s most celebrated musicians. He has written in many genres with a sizeable input to film and television background music, and much of his major symphonic output is included on this highly desirable disc. This is modernism with a listener-friendly appeal that flits between tonality and atonality seeking to create musical colours. With his cinema background, the opening work, Music for an Imaginary Film, is very appropriate, the scenario is left to the listener, though a dramatic story is obviously intended. The three sections of Prima Materia contrasts darkness, whiteness and redness, the second section opening with a haunting cello melody, the whole work exploring orchestral sonorities. Monologue is in the shape of a one-movement Cor anglais concerto, its many contrasting sections showcasing the solo instrument’s pungent qualities. The two remaining tracks, Thought Forms from 2002and Lucid Dreams, completed two years later, are scored for strings and in mood are the most consciously modern pieces. They do take a few hearings to get to grips with Mouzas’s style, moments of Shostakovich in one of his bleak moods being a guide as to their content. The Sofia Philharmonic under the Greek conductor, Miltos Logiadis, do find these latter two works a stiff challenge, but otherwise it is in fine form. Chirstina Pantelidou’s fruity tone makes for an convincing soloist in the technically demanding Monologues. The recorded sound is the best I have ever encountered from Bulgaria. Available in a limited edition, it really is well worth looking out, probably through Internet sales.
Alexandros Mouzas (b. 1962)
Music for an Imaginary Film
Music for an Imaginary Film (1998/2004), by its very title, makes the composer’s intentions very clear, dictating a special response on the part of the listener. The musical form is transferred from the conventional internal organization of sound and themes to a broader structure made up of musical environments, which, through their succession, create an emotional charge gradually leading up to a climax. This climax is not always related to intensity or tempo, but is aimed at the listener’s powers of association and especially memory; this process has a cumulative effect, giving meaning to the contrasting elements and textures that alternate with each other. Once registered in the listener’s memory, this succession ‘colours’ the subsequent repetitions or variations with new messages. What we have here, in fact, is a reproduction of the function and practice of film music. The microstructures of this work have their own autonomy and internal organization. The first is atonal, with a virtuosic character on the part of the clarinet, the second is a dreamy setting created by the percussion and the piano, and the third, mainly dependent on the strings, is purely tonal, rhythmical and energetic.
Prima Materia (1996/2005) was commissioned by the Third Programme of Greek Radio. Influenced by the alchemist theories, I embarked on a series of compositions under the general title Prima Materia, as a record of the inner process of seeking the broader meaning of the concept ‘raw material’, the symbolic principle of unity that remains stable in the face of all change. Nigredo (Blackness): the symbolic death in the mystical initiation rituals. Albedo (Whiteness): from the darkness of the unconscious comes the light of illumination. The above and below are united resulting in a vibration of increased purity and strength. Rubedo (Redness): the rosy dawn that brightly announces the arrival of the sun and the brilliant light of a new day.
In the title of Monologue (2001/2005), a concerto for cor anglais, the term Monologue implies a work for a solo instrument. My intention in this piece was to write a concertante work where the solo line maintains an inner autonomy surrounded by orchestral sounds, thus creating various musical environments. The piece progresses from complex multi-textural layers to the simplicity of the linear individual monologue. This single-movement work can be divided in three parts. In the first part, the soloist participates as an equal member of the ensemble, playing thematic elements interwoven with the complex multitextural whole. A slow, lyrical horn solo leads to the next section as the orchestra now “touches”, and interacts with, the more predominant soloist. A virtuosic passage signals the start of the final section. The tempo increases and the fully independent solo horn line sharply contrasts with the ensemble in the true concertante manner. The work had its première on 7th February, 2001, at the Tsai Performance Center, Boston, by the ALEA III Orchestra under Theodore Antoniou.
The basic idea upon which Lucid Dream (2004) rests is related to the transformation of texture through the projection, by each musical environment, of the different elements that gradually or abruptly come to the surface and fade away. Rhythmical repetitive patterns on the one hand, and delicate harmonic formations on the other, constitute the two poles of attraction, which, in the quest for balance, produce plot and action. This work is dedicated to those who have been there.
Thought Forms (2002) is a study of the particularities and unique possibilities of the string ensemble. This work, within the framework of my constant pursuit of texture in a multi-level horizontal and vertical development, poses special technical problems and requires the musicians to act as soloists.
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MOUZAS: Music for an Imaginary Film / Prima Materi...