Tasoulla (Anastasia) Christou - Composer

Music for the Concert Hall combining tradition with innovation

Music Downloads

TANZ

This piece, for solo flute, is entitled Tanz because the main rhythmic idea was conceived when listening to the Tanz in Carl Orf’s Carmina Burana.  However, in all other respects the piece has no resemblance to Carl Orf’s Tanz

 The piece is characterized by its chromaticism in the melodic line and consists of three main sections:

 Section A begins with a figure of five notes in the first two bars, which is then developed rhythmically, melodically and "harmonically".  (The piece is composed mainly in free harmony).

Section B allows the performer to show his or her virtuosity, and his or her technique is stretched with contemporary flute-writing technique and effects:  for example, percussive clicks.  This is in order to exploit the flute’s tone-colour in different registers and dynamics.

 The last section A1 ends the piece by using the first two bars of Section A.  Nevertheless the last note of the figure of five notes is not sounded but played silently by the performer as a gesture in order to add suspense and humour to the piece.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AN EXTRACT:

TANZ EXTRACT

 

DREAMS OF MAY

The idea to write a song for a mezzo soprano and piano was first encouraged by the American mezzo soprano Candace Johnson. The lyrics are written by Sue Guiney, an American poet and author.  The poem is from her book Dreams of May and is part of a poetry play meant for live performance. 

 The mood of the poem is in three parts – Dark, Bright and Dark.  A post-romantic style and harmonies have been chosen, in order to capture these moods in the music.

 The song starts in the minor mode at a slower tempo to express the despondent feelings of a lonely woman whose husband died many years ago when she was young.  Gradually, the music accelerates and bursts out into major and happy mode as the words of the poem change from dark to positive.  The woman remembers now the happy times in her life when the house was full of guests, flowers and food.  This section is the longest of the three.  The third section falls back into the bleak mood of the beginning and ends up in loneliness and despair.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AN EXTRACT:

DREAMS OF MAY EXTRACT

 

SKOPOS

 The word skopos literally means a Greek Air.  The melodies in the piece are the composer's own compositions and are reminiscent of Greek folk music. Only the melody in the introduction is partly based on an actual folk tune. Similarly, the composer has used her own rhythms in the piece, which are different from those of the original folk tune, whilst still reminiscent of Greek folk dances. The violin has mainly the leading role while the piano accompaniment leads us through a journey of diatonic harmonies.  The piece starts with a slow prologue and bursts out into a lively syncopated rhythm to be repeated every so often until the end of the piece.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AN EXTRACT:

SKOPOS EXTRACT


ROMANCE


For flute and piano

Romance looks back nostalgically to the 19th Century, when “Soirees”, or private parties with musical entertainment, were flourishing. It was not only the aristocracy who gave grand “Soirees”.  Every middle class household was not complete without a piano and it was one way in which people entertained themselves at home. Young ladies usually performed on such occasions, to show off their accomplishments in the pursuit of a suitable husband. People making music at home “Soirees” were often very accomplished musicians, and it is with this in mind that Romance was composed. As a piece of work for flute, or violin, and piano it makes an ideal composition for chamber music or playing at home.

Romance is written in the Romantic style of the later 19th Century. The flute or violin part plays a beautiful and elegant melody while the piano plays an arpeggiated accompaniment. The piece is in three sections. The first section is in D flat major and modulates to E major and then D major in the middle section. The last section returns to D flat major.

In Romance both melody and harmonies are characterized by elegance and beauty, evoking a romantic feeling throughout the piece – all indispensable characteristics of the 19th Century “Soirees”.

Romance is dedicated to my husband Richard for all his support and encouragement. His very careful listening and excellent advice have proved invaluable.

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CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AN EXTRACT:



ROMANCE EXTRACT



SILVER MOON, SILVER LAKE


For string quartet

The piece for string quartet was composed as a commission by Pricewaterhousecoopers for performance with a Chinese dancer at a private viewing on 18th January 2006 of the Three Emperors Exhibition of Chinese art at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The idea was suggested by Gareth Davies a partner in the firm and I have dedicated this piece to him and I would like to thank him for his support and encouragement.  The piece is not programmatic but draws on my impressions during a visit to Beijing in November 2005. I was particularly struck by my visit to the Temple of Heaven and the significance that the old Chinese religion placed on the skies and the moon, and natural phenomena such as rain and wind.

The idea comes from the vision of the full moon reflected in the lake. Sometime the reflection is perfect and sometimes it is disturbed as the wind ruffles the water. We can also hear raindrops and a suggestion of running water from the streams feeding the lake.

In keeping with the subject the piece uses Chinese scales, and in the middle section makes use of material from a Chinese folk song. The piece is structured in five sections and is palindromic in form.

It starts with a slow section (A) followed by a faster and more agitated section (B). Then comes the central section (C) with the folk tune. Section B is repeated with some variation. After this the piece concludes with a section similar to Section A, and based on the same opening material. The piece ends with a short, slow coda.


CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AN EXTRACT:


SILVER MOON, SILVER LAKE EXTRACT


CHERUBIC HYMN 


For A Capella Choir

The Cherubic Hymn was composed for the choir of the Greek Cathedral St Sophia in London. This cathedral has a long tradition of using an a capella choir for parts of the liturgy (similar to the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church) together with the usual Byzantine chants.

The composition is in four part harmony, and consists of four sections. The mood in the first three sections is calm and reflective. These three sections, one for each of the three verses of the hymn, are similar both in melody and harmony. The last section is jubilant and mostly based on counterpoint and the musical interplay of voices.

Writing for church music was a new challenge for me. I enjoyed composing the piece very much and I felt very honoured to have been asked to do so.

Below is are two  short video extracts (one from the beginning and one from near the end of the piece) of the concert performance of at Sophia by the Saint Sophia Choir under the direction of Costas Manoras


CHERUBIC HYMN EXTRACT ONE.


CHERUBIC HYMN EXTRACT TWO