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Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Performs Hatzis' Oboe Concerto


The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra are performing Christos Hatzis’ oboe concerto Telluric Dances on 30 November. This performance will feature the ESO’s Principal Oboe, Lidia Khaner with guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen. Telluric Dances is programmed alongside Mendelssohn’s The Fair Melusina: Overture and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

Two different requests for an oboe concerto brought Telluric Dances into being: one by Joseph Salvalaggio, a Canadian oboist living and working in the USA and one by Symphony Nova Scotia for their principal oboist Suzanne Lemieux. Premiered by Lemieux and Symphony Nova Scotia in 2005, Telluric Dances, (or ‘earth’ dances) is based on a traditional three-movement concerto structure, fast-slow-fast: I. Snake Dance (Chiftetelli), II. Eagle Dance (Zeibekiko), and III. Dancing in the Light. The music makes extensive reference to tonal modes and popular dance forms from the Balkans and the composer’s native Greece in particular. Some of these modes and dances have their origins in Turkish and Arabic music, but Hatzis recalls that his first encounter with them was in the Greek night clubs of Toronto where he made a living playing in local bands during his early years as a composer.

In conversation with Robert Rival, Resident Composer of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Hatzis said of the work: ‘I always thought of the timbre of the oboe as something really earthy… The sound of the oboe is quite directional.’ In this work Hatzis accentuates the timbre and directional quality of the solo instrument with simple and effective staging directions for the soloist. Describing this, Hatzis said: ‘One of the first gestures that you hear when the concerto starts is the oboist looking up and pointing the bell of the instrument to every area of the audience as if addressing them personally. And this is one of the gestures that repeats throughout the first movement.’ The oboe writing throughout the work is technically demanding with virtuosic cadenza passages and multiphonics, or chords, which are exotic and challenging to produce.

Find out more about this performance and listen to the complete interview with Hatzis our website…

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