Sibyl's Leaves: Understanding Musical Performance Issues in Jani Christou's Anaparastasis III: The Pianist

Minou, Andriana. 2010. Sibyl's Leaves: Understanding Musical Performance Issues in Jani Christou's Anaparastasis III: The Pianist. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Doctoral Thesis)
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Abstract or Description

This thesis deals with performance issues that are raised in the late works of Jani Christou (1926-1970). Christou was a Greek composer whose works demonstrate great interest in terms of their challenging of the conceptual margins of musical performance. His output was widely appreciated while he was still alive, but since his premature death there have been very few performances of his music. Because of a general lack of published sources on Christou, a significant part of my research material comes from the Jani Christou Archive, in which the composer’s unpublished commentaries on his works can be found.

The issues that are examined in this thesis mainly revolve around original musical concepts, which were articulated by the composer and characterise his late works. The content of these concepts as well as their function in two of Christou’s late works, Anaparastasis III: The Pianist and Epicycle, are observed on two levels. On the one hand, their relation to postmodern thought, psychology and philosophy is interrogated on a theoretical level, especially through research into the work of Carl Jung and Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose student Christou was. On the other hand, the behaviour of these concepts in practice and the performance issues which are raised through their use are studied through personal reflections on my own realisations of Anaparastasis III: The Pianist and Epicycle.

This thesis is one of the few pieces of writing to deal with Christou’s work critically and on both a theoretical and a practical level. Therefore, one of its greatest values lies within the possibility of a new appreciation of Christou’s pioneering contribution to contemporary music, which can function as a creative impetus towards an innovative perspective on the evolution of musical performance.
Through this research I aim at identifying the performance issues that stem from the particularity of Christean concerns, such as ‘metapraxis’ and ‘protoperformance’. I investigate the conceptual framework within which these ideas developed, and I attempt to formulate an effective theoretical and performative attitude towards them, in order to reach a deeper theoretical understanding that will lead to successful performances of Christou’s late works.

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Thesis (Doctoral)

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18 March 2010

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17 Feb 2012 15:49

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 15:19


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