Dedication: To my grandmother, Amalia
A. Empeirikos (1901-1975) is one of my favourite poets. Before becoming this, I had not any special contact with his work. The only works I knew were the 4 poems that were contained in the school book —I think at the 2nd Gymnasium year—, the 3 of them, surrealistic. Actually I considered them (the surrealistic ones) rather funny.
So, one day wanted to have fun, I asked my great-grandmother, whom I was teasing a lot, to read the poems in the schoolbook. I think it was 1996.
My great-grandmother, who was at that time 92 years old, did the favour to me. She read the 4 poems while I was recording her. And instead of having fun, I was very moved by the way she was reading those marvellous poems.
The mother tongues of my great-grandmother where pontiac greek (a greek dialect, spoken near the Black Sea) and russian. It was not easy for her to read these strange texts which astounded her (that was what I wanted to cause) fighting with her weak sight. But she read them to the end. At some point her reading gained a strong expression, that was not intended or pretended. It possessed an originality and a deep power.
I was strongly impressed and inspired by this. After listening to the last poem ("Ηχώ"), I heard sounds for it, that I subsequently organised in a composition for piano and voice. I wanted that the composed voice in its regularity approached the reading (and therefore, the expression) of my great-grandmother.
I composed it from January till March 1997 in 2 movements, the first monophonic (title) and the second (poem) polyphonic. I used a first/weight-technique as in Composition II. Organising the microstructure was an extremely complicated task, and I remember that I decided not to compose again in such a complicated manner.
My composition teacher, K. Siembis, suggested me to add a third movement to the work, where the reader "says" the title of the poem without sound. I added it then, (and it was performed with it at the first time), but now I do not consider it as a part of the composition.
My friend Kostas Tsachalinas (voice) and me (piano) performed the composition in the State conservatory Thessaloniki in May 1997 (same concert: Composition 1/5 and I). The recording is from this concert.
Although the piece was inspired by my great-grandmother, the composition is dedicated to my grandmother (her daughter). She had passed away some years before, and it was because of her that I was introduced to the magic world of music. In that manner, both my great-grandmother and me contributed to a piece for her.
Here you can listen to my great-grandmother reading all 4 poems out of the schoolbook.