Author Topic: Nikos Skalkottas  (Read 9958 times)

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Offline amw

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2014, 08:35:19 AM »
I tend to think of him as Schoenberg + Bartók to an extent. 12 tone perhaps but with tremendous energy and joie de vivre (at least when it's played anywhere near the right tempi—thus why String Quartets 3 & 4 are a good place to start) that sets it apart from all the introspection and neurosis of Berg for instance.

I think Schoenberg was quite positive about Skalkottas's music actually, but they wouldn't have had much contact anymore after he returned to Greece.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2014, 08:38:57 AM »
I think Schoenberg was quite positive about Skalkottas's music actually, but they wouldn't have had much contact anymore after he returned to Greece.

I've been reading (with great pleasure) Malcom McDonald's book on Schoenberg, and so this does not surprise me in the least.  In contrast to the impression given by some of the fervent composers after, Schoenberg happily allowed other composers entire liberty. (Though he was not one to suffer writers of tripe gladly  ;) )
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Offline Cato

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2014, 01:01:09 PM »
I've been reading (with great pleasure) Malcom McDonald's book on Schoenberg, and so this does not surprise me in the least.  In contrast to the impression given by some of the fervent composers after, Schoenberg happily allowed other composers entire liberty. (Though he was not one to suffer writers of tripe gladly  ;) )

From various sources I have usually seen mention of a "rift" between Skalkottas and Schoenberg, but now have been finding other sources claiming no such rift existed.

So yes, given the quality of Skalkottas' music, it makes more sense that they simply lost contact due to the terrible disruptions at that time.
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2014, 01:33:26 PM »
I've been reading (with great pleasure) Malcom McDonald's book on Schoenberg, and so this does not surprise me in the least.  In contrast to the impression given by some of the fervent composers after, Schoenberg happily allowed other composers entire liberty. (Though he was not one to suffer writers of tripe gladly  ;) )

Schoenberg allowed??

See how easy it is to tick me off? ::) :laugh:

Just be thankful JdP isn't here!

Schoenberg allowed... indeed. Hmrmph!! >:D
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2014, 05:14:00 PM »
Oh yes: one of his conflicts - or simply differences - with the original ideas of Schoenberg is his use of multiple sets of rows, rather than reducing a composition to variations on only one row.

This idea allows Skalkottas to develop a unique style.

Fascinating, Cato. Can't wait to hear his music.
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Offline Dax

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2014, 02:09:47 AM »
I attended a Skalkottas concert at the Royal Academy of Music in London a few weeks back. The event turned out to be not quite as advertised. It was billed as a performance of the 4th Quartet together with quartet versions of 5 of the Greek Dances. What we got was the first movement only of the Quartet plus the Greek Dances plus an hour-long talk; much of the talk I found to be of particular interest although not everybody else in the room did.

The presentation was given by George Zacharias, a violinist who played the solo violin sonata and the Duo for violin and cello in a programme 6 years ago (gosh - that long ago) at the same venue (Royal Academy of Music). Paulos Carvalho, the cellist on that occasion, reappeared as a member of the quartet: all decent players who could have perhaps lived rather more dangerously than they did. The 1st movement of the 4th Quartet is marked Allegro molto vivace with a dotted crotchet at a pretty impossible 120. Zacharias's quartet delivered it at dotted crotchet slightly above 60, pretty accurate, but woefully slow. The issue of tempos in Skalkottas has come up before (see also the Skalkottas thread from the old r3ok board here). The recording on BIS by the New Hellenic Quartet lasts 8'21": the Zacharias Quartet managed 12'45" (!). It was instructive to hear the 5 Greek Dances in the composer's own resourceful versions although the speeds again were a bit on the dreamy side.

The talk was often fascinating if one ignores moments like the section on "family connections" - I imagine that a good number of us musos could boast that they're [great-great-?] grand pupils of Brahms (reminiscent of many Brits being descended from William the Conqueror), but it's usually of little or no significance. Of rather more relevance may be that Skalkottas was brought up on an island which, unusually, contained a organ (found in Catholic churches rather than Orthodox) and later studied with Tony Schulze (from a German family of organ builders). So his violin sound was apparently influenced by the organ (!): seems unlikely, but the point was made most persuasively. Zacharias was also at his interesting analysing the the first couple of pages of the 4th Quartet. The ins and outs of twelve-notery have never particularly grabbed me, but the workings he explained illustrated some pretty detailed thinking on the part of the composer especially regarding "multi-dimensional serialism". In short, this works both vertically and horizontally; each instrumental part starts with its own note-rows, shapes and rows getting mixed up thereafter; interval sequences and aspects of durational serialism being notable elements; and so on. Considering the whole quartet (c.40 minutes worth) was written in a month and Skalkottas was not in the habit of making too much in way of sketches (so it would appear), one was left with a certain sense of wonderment.

Zacharias probably lost the attention of some of his listeners through all of this, but I for one was glad of it. There were certainly some who unimpressed with the unannounced change of programme. One entertainingly nerdish chap gave Zacharias a bit of a wigging at the end for not performing the rest of the quartet as advertised.
I asked Zacharias if he (or anybody else) was planning any performances of Skalkottas in the forseeable future. Apparently it's enormously complicated to programme Skalkottas for fear of alienating your potential audience. Cripes! I thought that kind of thinking went out 30 years ago.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2014, 04:27:53 AM »
See how easy it is to tick me off? ::) :laugh:

Schoenberg allowed... indeed. Hmrmph!! >:D

Schoenberg was no Putin . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2014, 04:35:13 AM »
Very interesting, thank you!

. . . The ins and outs of twelve-notery have never particularly grabbed me, but the workings he explained illustrated some pretty detailed thinking on the part of the composer especially regarding "multi-dimensional serialism". In short, this works both vertically and horizontally; each instrumental part starts with its own note-rows, shapes and rows getting mixed up thereafter; interval sequences and aspects of durational serialism being notable elements; and so on. Considering the whole quartet (c.40 minutes worth) was written in a month and Skalkottas was not in the habit of making too much in way of sketches (so it would appear), one was left with a certain sense of wonderment.

Well, by then he was a composer with a great deal of experience.  And (as I learn in the MacDonald book) Schoenberg wrote his twelve-note pieces without bother to chart out a "magic square," i.e. the row and its forms were internalized during the process of composing.  So I am prepared to be impressed by, but not astonishedat ;) , Skalkottas's working without sketches.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #48 on: April 14, 2014, 07:48:32 AM »
Where can I get that Philips/Holliger disc for less than $1000?
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2015, 11:41:44 PM »
I've not found GDM's Piano Concerto 3 very satisfactory and would also be interested in hearing the Kara recording...

It's posted on YouTube in 3 parts.
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #50 on: December 07, 2015, 11:47:15 PM »
Actually, there may indeed have been some sort of 'problem' between Skalkottas .... and Schoenberg, and everyone else.  His ex-live-in lady said he was pretty much impossible to live with, and later in life he apparently developed some sort of personality disorder - being very morose and isolated (not that he was the most cheerful of chaps to start with).  I think it was probably all on Skalkottas' part, not Arnie's.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #51 on: December 18, 2015, 11:30:38 PM »
The "problem" you are referring to is probably Schoenberg being critical of Skalkottas fashioning his own individual system of serialism (e.g. using multiple tone rows per piece, which he continued evolving in Greece) but their relations were not hostile and Schoenberg thought very highly of and actually spoke very favourably of Skalkottas in later years, long after they lost contact (Schoenberg in the USA, Skalkottas trying to make ends meet in WWII ravaged - and hostile to musical modernism - Greece).

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #52 on: June 15, 2016, 07:23:33 AM »
any interest?
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Offline Cato

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #53 on: June 15, 2016, 03:53:51 PM »
any interest?

Yes!  Skalkottas is one of the greats of the 20th century!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GszotAj1JWo" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GszotAj1JWo</a>
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Offline Ken B

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #54 on: June 15, 2016, 04:39:06 PM »
Yes!  Skalkottas is one of the greats of the 20th century!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GszotAj1JWo" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GszotAj1JWo</a>

Didn't he have an acrimonious parting with he who should be deleted?

This is how I imagine it.

AS: Do you hate the audience?
NS: No.
AS: Begone!

 ;)
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #55 on: June 15, 2016, 08:03:27 PM »
Yes!  Skalkottas is one of the greats of the 20th century!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GszotAj1JWo" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GszotAj1JWo</a>

All I have is the 5 Greek Dances played by the President's Own... I'll whip it out here in a minute, hold on!
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #56 on: June 16, 2016, 12:39:00 AM »
Yes!  Skalkottas is one of the greats of the 20th century!

No argument there.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/eDXhVoLk-_8" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/eDXhVoLk-_8</a>

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #57 on: June 16, 2016, 12:50:25 AM »
This is how I imagine it.

AS: Do you hate the audience?
NS: No.
AS: Begone!

 ;)

This would make a great movie.  8)

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas
« Reply #58 on: September 19, 2017, 05:57:35 AM »
*bump*

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Nikos Skalkottas CYCLE-CONCERT
« Reply #59 on: October 25, 2017, 02:05:34 PM »
I finally have the Philips CD of the 'Cycle-Concert', with Holliger&Co. The Sonata Concertante for bassoon and piano is the centrepiece, flanked by two Concertinos, and then two small "jazzy" buts. Well, I've had problems with Skalkottas in the past, but I've always had this album in mind.

It's pretty overwhelming!

Skalkottas is sort of "better than Schoenberg" in a way, you'd have to hear it. I really have a hard time with his bigger ensembles, but this recital is perfect! And exhausting!

I've tried a few items today, and before, and I just come away feeling that there's just too much unrelieved intensity, but here, with the instrumentation, all things become clear, as of a mesh that these items are. Sooo many notes!!

whew!!


I'd say this is a Masterpiece concert.
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