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Arcana

Study Score | Mezzo Soprano and Chamber Ensemble

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Christos Hatzis

Arcana

Mezzo-Soprano and Chamber Ensemble

Facsimile Study Score

PROMETHEAN EDITIONS

WELLINGTON


Christos Hatzis

Arcana

Mezzo-Soprano and Chamber Ensemble

Facsimile Study Score

Score version June 2005

Arcana for clarinet, viola, violoncello, percussion, voice and piano, was

commissioned by Arraymusic with funding from the Ontario Arts Council.

It was premiered by Christine Frolick (Mezzo-Soprano) with the Arraymusic

Ensemble at Winchester Street Theatre, Toronto on the 29 October 1983. It is

set to a text by Gwendolyn MacEwen.

This edition is a facsimile of the original score provided by the composer.

PEFCHAR

© 1983 Promethean Editions Limited

PO Box 10-143

Wellington

NEW ZEALAND

www.promethean-editions.com

+64 4 473 5033


Instrumentation

Clarinet in BÏ

Viola

Violoncello

Percussion

Mezzo-Soprano

Programme Notes

“When I first read Gwendolyn MacEwen’s The Nine Arcana of the Kings,

I was immediately captured by both the intense imagery and the subject

matter. These poems burst with emotion: volcanic eruptions of despair, and

numbing pain set against descriptions of water, fountains and especially

blinding and intoxicating light. They have the power to carry the reader

into the unknown worlds of collective memory and explore its luminous and

dark corners. Reading these poems is an enchantment; it is like looking at a

multifaceted crystal with “brilliant and original verbal surfaces” (Margaret

Atwood).

In an effort to make these poems more meaningful from my own point

of view, which is essentially Christian, and at the same time make them

more “open” to personal interpretation on the part of the listener, I have

taken them out of their specific historical context (which I presume is the

reign of the mysterious and fascinating Pharaoh Achenaton, 1367-1350 BC)

and placed them on a more universal plateau. Thus the lament of princess

Meritaton over the dead body of her brother/husband Smenkhare (both

children of Achenaton and brief successors to his throne) becomes in my own

vision the lament of Maria Magdalene over the dead body of Jesus. It is this

transposition that has inspired the composition of Arcana.

These particular poems of MacEwen’s carry their own music within them; it

was not possible for me to impose on the text any of my own musical ideas.

I chose rather to unravel and bring to life what music was already there

to begin with. Certain allusions and references to works or styles of other

composers have been called for by the text in a non-conscious manner, and it

is with these subconscious archetypal threads that the primary fabric of the

piece is woven. One such reference is the fugal treatment of the Byzantine

chant “Ton Nymphona sou vlepo...” (I see your bridal chamber, my Savior,

and I wear not the proper vestments to enter it) at the end of “The Prayer”,

and there are several more. These references do not constitute some kind of

stylistic trend on my part, but are part of a philosophy of subordinating one’s

musical personality to the literary requirements of a poem.

© 1983 Christos Hatzis

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