- “Ο Ιππής…Του Ιππή…Ε Ιππή…Ποιός Ιππεί;” – 2012
Ballet for Symphony Orchestra
Awarded the 1st prize in the Composition Competition held for the European Presidency of Cyprus, organized by Cyprus Symphony Orchestra.
A few words about the piece
The piece is inspired by the Greek Myth of the abduction of Europe by Zeus. According to the myth, Zeus fells in love with Europe after being shot by the arrows of God Eros. He disguises as a handsome white bull, and he approaches Europe in order to seduce her. The bull charms Europe and she decides to ride him. As soon as she rides the bull, the animal starts running furiously into the sea leaving Europe incapable of escaping. As soon as they cross the sea, they arrive at Crete, where the bull disappears and Zeus appears in his genuine form. Zeus takes Europe by the hand and leads her to Diktaion Antron, where they make love. After their intercourse, Zeus abandons Europe to claim his throne at mount Olympus. Nevertheless, he marries Europe with king Asterion making Europe the queen of Crete and the mother of the future king Minoas.
The piece is divided in two movements, which are also divided into smaller sections. Both movements are inspired by the myth, and they narrate musically the story that is happening. The first movement deals with the meeting of Europe with the Bull, her seduction by it and their ride through the sea. In this movement the low sounds from the brass and woodwinds represent Zeus, or otherwise the dark disguised figure. The high and intense sounds represent Europe, beautiful but fragile and ready to become the victim of the story. The piece begins by a dialogue of these textures and results to an intense trip, accompanied by fast percussion passages that resemble their trip through the sea.
The second movement however presents the myth from a different angle. The movement starts after Zeus abandoned Europe and it deals with how Europe perceives this new change in her life; as a great opportunity to be the queen of Crete or as a forced decision? The second movement is a constant contrast of fast and slow tempi, loud and soft dynamics and so on. The contrast points out Europe’s dilemma as to how to perceive the new change, moving constantly from one state of mind to the other. Is she fortunate to become the queen of Crete and become the mother of the future king who will establish one of the strongest civilization of that time? Or is she unfortunate to abandon her home by force and become the Zeus victim? The end is ambiguous as to what she decides to feel, or how she will sculpt the reality she will experience.
The decision to create the second movement in this manner is my way of presenting a timeless happening. I believe we all take the role of Europe daily in our lives, being seduced and carried away by bulls that lead us to new places and introduce us to new people. All these changes could be forced but at the same time we have the ability to assimilate in a new context. Consequently its up to us to establish the way to witness any new change; as a forced decision or as a new transformation…