Bernhard Güller

Dancing in the Light: Music of Christos Hatzis

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins

The two concertos recorded here confirm Christos Hatzis' reputation as one of Canada's foremost composers, as well as an important voice on the international scene. Hatzis, who was born in Greece in 1953, was educated in the U.S and Canada, and went on to teach at the University of Toronto. He has a full grasp of the resources available to contemporary composers, as well an understanding of the folk musics of the near Middle East. Those resources, combined with a lack of any ideological musical agenda, have allowed him to develop a distinctive and recognizable musical voice. The folk influence is never far away, and a mysticism hovers over much of his music, but the independence and unconventionality of his thoughts prevent his music from being easily pigeonholed as predominantly folk-like or mystical. Pyrrichean Dances, a concerto for viola and percussion, and Telluric Dances, an oboe concerto, are notable for their colorful orchestration, mercurial eclecticism, and wide-ranging musical inventiveness. The scores are complex and engaging, with much to involve the mind and emotions. The concertos are dance-like, as the titles suggest, not always in a conventional way, but in their propulsive energy. The soloists -- violist Rivka Golani, percussionist Beverley Johnson, and oboist Suzanne Lemieux -- meet the virtuosic demands of the scores with panache and conviction. Bernhard Gueller leads Nova Scotia Symphony in energetic and committed performances. The CD is an excellent introduction to Hatzis' work, as well as a testimony to the vitality of new music in Canada.

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