The CD with

ROMANTIC WORKS FOR PIANO
BY COMPOSERS FROM THE SEVEN IONIAN ISLANDS

After the Greek revolution of 1821, the first dawn of the new romantic school of music spread from the seven islands of the Ionian Sea to the rest of liberated Greece.

In these Mediterranean islands, a unique phenomenon occurred, the blossoming of classical music which was not present in any other Mediterranean islands, such as Sicily and Sardinia, which belonged to Italy, or in Corsica, Majorca and other islands with a similar European background.

From 1700 until the start of the 20th Century (The Seven Islands composers) in particular, Nickolaos Halkiopoulos-Mantzaros, Pavlos Carrer and Spyridon Samaras, composed great symphonic works and operas, which excited European audiences when they were performed in the lyric theatres of Naples, Milan and other major cities. Moreover they became a unique legacy to their Greek homeland - along with the first glimpses of this new dawn rising in Greek classical music and epitomised by the Greek National Anthem and the Anthem of the International Olympic Games of 1896.

The piano works of these composers have a strong unity of style, inspired by Greek light and the blue of the Mediterranean.

After the inauguration of the National School of Music in the early 1900s and the growing unpopularity of romantic music, many of these works, especially for solo piano, remained only in private libraries, museums and in the houses of the composers descendants.

Linda Leoussi has worked hard to find and assemble a collection of these works, which are now on CD and which she presented, some of them as a World Premier, in performances at the Hellenic Club of London on th 29th March 2001 and at Columbia University, New York on the 18th May 2002.

The collection of works in the CD which included the most important works of the Seven Islands school, was put together after taking into account audience re-action at these performance and in particular the advice of the Greek Consul General in New York, Mr Demetrios Platis. The CD is now available with the book "The History of Greek Music 200BC - 2000AD"
written by Linda Leoussi and published by Ankyra, contains extensive references to the contribution of the Seven Islands composers. The success of the book - the second edition was published only three months after the first - and the warm reception given to the CD has encouraged us to distribute it independently, although it will continue to be included with the book.

 

THE WORKS OF THE COMPOSERS

The CD starts with the song "Anthostefanoti" (Girl with a wreath of flowers) by George Lambelet, sung by the unforgettable Soprano of the Lyric Theatre of Athens Fofi Sarantopoulou, who was killed in a car accident in 1985 at the summit of her career. The live performance took place at the Santorini Festival in September 1981. We must note that this is the only published edition where the voice of Fofi Sarantopoulou can be heard. Linda Leoussi accompanies her on piano, interpreting the remainder of the works included on the CD; the details of which are set out below.

 

NICOLAOS MANTZAROS, Corfu 1795-1872
- Ophelia
4.03'
a) Introduction, b) Love, c) Ophelia's Memories

Nickolaos Mantzaros studied in Naples where he became known as a gifted composer. In 1826, he returned to Corfu having decided to use his knowledge in order to help his homeland, which was still fighting against the Turkish yoke. He also taught as well as composing for Solomos poem which in 1865 became and still is the National Anthem of Greece. Mantzaros died in 1872 leaving a rich compositional work.

 

PAVLOS CARRER, Zakynthos 1829 - 1896
- The Escape (Blondie) 2.56'
- The Parthenon (Introduction) 3.26'

Pavlos Carrer studied and made a career in Milan. Most of his compositions are operas. The most well known among them is "Marcos Botsaris", which included the well known aria "Old Demos" which later became a popular song. The world premiere of the opera "Marathon - Salamis" by the Lyric Theatre of Athens in February 2003 was a great success and proved Carrer's genius.

 

PETROS SCARLATOS, Cephalonia 1820-1904
- The Moon
1.53'

Petros Scarlatos was born in Lixouri of Cephalonia. He belonged to the "Radicals" and composed war-songs ("thourioi") which inspired the fighters. He was the founder of the Philarmonica in Lixouri. He has composed a circle of lyric songs and belongs to the first era of the Seven Islands School.

 

GEORGIOS LABELET, Corfu 1875-1945
- Scherzo
2.06'

Georgios Labelet studied in the Conservatory of Naples and is one of the major figures of the Seven Islands School. Strongly influenced by the idea of the National School, he wrote a study in the magazine "Panathinea" in which he encouraged the Greek musicians to receive inspiration from traditional Greek folk music. He harmonized Greek folk songs and laid the foundations of the Greek "Lied", an example of which is the song "Anthostefanoti".

 

NAPOLEON LABELET, Corfu 1864-1932
- I want to love you always
3.40'

Napoleon Labelet studied in the Conservatory of Naples. On returning home, he founded a Music School and formed a group of musicians with whom he gave in Athens the first performance in Greek of the melodram "Candidate Member of the Parliament" by Xyndas. He has left a rich compositional work.

 

DIONYSIOS LAVRAGAS, Cephalonia 1860-1941
- The Witch 1.51'
- Nightingales are singing 1.32'

Dionysios Lavragas studied in Naples and in Paris, where he was a student of Delibes and Massenet. His first melodram, the "Two brothers", was performed in Greek in Athens. From then on, he concentrated all his efforts on the realization of his dream: the institution of the Greek melodram, to which he devoted his whole life and on which he spent all his fortune. He melodized poems by Greek poets and left a rich synthetic work.

 

DIONYSIOS VISVARDIS, Zakynthos 1910-1999
- Moonlight on a Zakynthian sea shore 3.11'
- Amaranth 2.43'


Dionysios Visvardis studied in the State Conservatory of Salonica. He composed important works based on the Greek rhythm and is regarded as the last representative of the Greek National School.

 

SPYROS SAMARAS, Corfu 1861-1917
- A Ship from Chios
1.46' (adaptation for piano by Vassilis Dellios)
- French Serenata 3.45'
- The Anthem of the Olympic Games of 1896 5.45'

Spyros Samaras was student of the composer Xyndas in Corfu. He won a scholarship and continued his studies in the Conservatory of Paris with Delibes and Dubois. His first opera "Flora Mirabilis" was a success in Milan. Later on, his opera "Rea" was staged in Florence and had very good reviews. This work includes the choral "A ship from Chios", which is considered as a traditional song.
After the revival of the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, he undertook the composition of the anthem of the Games after a poem by Costis Palamas. This anthem was performed with orchestra and chorus in the Opening of the Games. Sixty-two years later, the Japanese chose Samaras's anthem for the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games. After a triumphal reception by the international audience, the Olympic Committee decided to make it the Official Anthem for the Opening Ceremony of the Games internationally from then on. The anthem performed by Linda Leoussi is written for piano solo by Samaras himself.

 

We present you 4 of musical samples that are found in the cd that is distributed with this book.

 

PAVLOS CARRER, Zakynthos 1829 - 1896
03. The Parthenon (Introduction)

To download this song (Full) please click here

 

GEORGIOS LABELET, Corfu 1875 - 1945
05. Scherzo

To download this song (Full) please click here

 

SPYROS SAMARAS, Corfu 1861 - 1917
09. A Ship From Chios

To download this song (Non Full) please click here

09. The Anthem of the Olympic Games of 1896

To download this song (Full) please click here