CHRISTOS HATZIS (b.1953): Departures - Concerto for Flute and Strings, Overscript - Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra (on Bach's Concerto in G Minor for Flute, Strings and Continuo, BWV 1056/I).
Catalogue Number: 05P085
Description: These concerti combine an appealing mixture of accessibility, wry, off-kilter humor and serious subtext. Hatzis rivals Schnittke for polystylism, except that here the accreted material invariably attaches to an entirely approachable, thoroughly tonal basis. Departures was composed in memory of two recently departed friends of the composer, at the time when Fukushima was monopolising the news. The first movement starts with apparent inflections of Japanese modes, ambiguous tonality and multiphonics, but instead of pursuing this it soon settles into a bouncy, neoromantic romp, finally abruptly dismissed by a strident flute multiphonic, which fades into a beautiful, serene sound effect from the ensemble. The slow movement, 'Serenity' is gentle and melodic, borrowing from all manner of Romantic sources and their popular, Hollywoodesque derivatives, with a brief agitated disturbance at its mid-point. The finale takes a cartoonishly (rather in the sense of a serious graphic novel) ominous look at the Fukushima disaster, with pizzicato ticking clocks and distant warning sirens. Overscript is an interesting take on the idea of transcription, 'over-writing' Bach's BWV 1056/1 concerto. It starts with the Bach played literally, and then, abruptly and without warning, goes dramatically 'wrong'. Thereafter the music alternates in juxtaposed 'slices' between the Bach and Hatzis' own material derived from it - repeating 'loops', pitch shifts like an LP slowing down, intervals augmented or diminished to radically distort the harmony, or bits of Bach overlapped with other bits with which they don't belong, resulting in alarming tonal clashes. It's a great joke, told with impeccable timing, and there are some unexpectedly striking and effective moments, like the quasi-Mahlerian climax of the slow movement. Patrick Gallois (flute), Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra; Alexandre Myrat.