CHRISTOS HATZIS (b.1953): Lamento, Ecstasy.
Catalogue Number: 02V067
Reference: CMCCD 27820
Description: Hatzis describes these collaborations with popular music diva Sarah Slean as a "cross-genre compositional experiment" as part of a "cross-over project intended to heal the audience divide between pop and classical music." If that sounds to you like trouble, then this may not be for you. On our previous offerings from this composer (05P085, 12R049) we noted his extreme polystylistic tendencies, rendered accessible by concentrating on tonal source material, in the service of serious musical argument, and issues. In Lamento the composer constructs a harrowing, dark music drama that borrows as much from pop music as the ‘classical' tradition. His orchestral music is far more sophisticated, varied and intrinsically effective than the kind of comparison that may have sprung to mind - Andrew Lloyd Webber, for instance - but the singer is directed to sing in pop style, using a close microphone. Moreover, the entire work is based on the descending ground of Purcell's Dido's Lament - which is hinted at in the first movement before being revealed (shadowed by a jazz trumpet) toward the end of the song. The aria is present throughout the third and final song, and is finally quoted with its original text at the end. The composer’s text deals with the loss of a loved one, mental illness and the seeds of suicidal ideation, and embraces the option of suicide in the dark finale. If the stylistic disconnect doesn’t trouble you, the result is powerful and moving. Ecstasy was written a few years later, and counterbalances the darkness of the first cycle with poems by Slean on love, consciousness and language, and a mystical approach to selflessness, incorporating more of her melodic input as well. Hatzis is far more than an 'arranger' here, though; as he modestly puts it, at some points "my musical setting departs from her original melody". Yes it does; suddenly the music becomes a monumental, quasi- symphonic canvas, and elsewhere he incorporates jazz and various dances in his inimitable popular polystylistic idiom. Sarah Slean (singer), Orchestra Nova Scotia; Christos Hatzis.