Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Emil Riades

82 years are completed today from the death of the Greek composer Emilios Riadis. This post is a small tribute to him.

He was born in Thessaloniki (and here) on May 1st, 1880. 1908-1910 he studied music theory, piano, singing, and conducting in Munich with Felix Mottl among others. He moved to Paris in 1910, and stayed thee until 1915. Maurice Ravel and Gustave Charpentier were his mentors in the French capital. Upon his return to Thessaloniki in 1915 he took a position as piano teacher at the State Conservatory of the city, where he taught until his death in 1935.

Emil Riadis was a polyglot and interested in the culture of oriental societies. There are reports of him giving lecturs in his home city on topics unusual for those times, such as Chinese music, ancient Egyptian music, and traditional poetry. He was awarded the Arts and Letters National Awars in 1923.

Riadis' main reputation relies on his songs. Usually folk tunes were adapted into songs of Western classical form. In many of the songs he tried to combine his passion for oriental music with the Greek music. Riadis was of demanding nature, rarely satisfied with the results of his work; most of his works are either incomplete of exist in multiple copies -of bad quality- and with differences between them.

Some links: information on the Emilios Riadis archive in Athens here, with additional information on bibliography. The two CD's with his music can be found and purchased here and here.

Finally some music: from the first CD, an excerpt from Riadis first String quartet. Source here.

From the second CD, The maiden from Patras for two female voices and ensemble.

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Then, Basil and The fault was mine from 5 dance songs for 2 female voices and ensemble.

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Martha Arapi (soprano), Eva Revidi (mezzo), Stathis Kiossoglou (cl), Yorghos Demertzis (vn), Paris Anastassiades (vl), Byron Fidetzis (vc), Domna Evnouchidou (pn), Savvas Zannas (tambourine).

Last but not least, Farewell for mixed choir and piano.

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George Costantzos Greek Music Archive Choir, Byron Fidetzis (co), Calliope Germanou (pn).

Then, something from a personal recording. Hommage à Maurice Ravel for solo piano. It can be found on CD II (recorded actually in 1996), but here is a live recording from January 24th, 2003 in Helsinki, Finland. The movements: 1. Prélude aux rossignols de St Jean de Luz, 2. Sarabande pour une maman défunte, 3. Célébration. Finale

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The bibliography internationally is rather poor. An article in Groves from 2001 by George Leotsakos, and another in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart from 1999 by Julia Lazaridou-Elmaloglou are the only ones I know of about Riadis' life. For more details, check the first link earlier on this post.

Enjoy!

Drawing by Chr. Lefakis

buzz it!

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