Abstracts of issue 9 (1997)

George Leotsakos

Dragatakis Symphony no 6, The Duty

Half-way between programme-notes and a strictly technical analysis, the present essay was written at the composers request with a view to accompany every performance of his Symphony no 6, The Duty, composed in 1989 and distinguished at the Athens Municipality Composers Competition, which commemorated the 1821 War of Hellenic Independence. The works denomination refers to the pious remembrance of all those, who have sacrificed their lives for the ideals of freedom and national identity not only in Greece but in other countries as well. Harmonically blending atonality with modality, and dense dissonant textures with apparently incompatible procedures such as parallel fourths and fifths, Symphony no 6 follows a traditional 4-movement patern:
  1. Adagio (dramatico).
  2. Vivace. Sostenuto.
  3. Lento.
  4. Allegro molto.
Its thematic material, originates for its greatest part from the 4 note-motif opening the symphony on the horns and trombones. In spite of its dense textures and the soberness of its overall statement, the symphony is a highly dramatic work, whose gloom at certain moments reminds one of Goyas hallucinations. The 14-note figure of the Cretan lyre, which haunts the slow movement (it is heard no less than 10 times), reminds one of the wailing of a ghost. Yet in spite of its gloom, after a reminder of the initial motif of the bass clarinet, the symphony ends in an atmosphere of restrained optimism. A masterpiece of inventiveness and concision, Dragatakis Symphony no 6, as yet unperformed in public, may be considered one of the milestones of Greek symphonic literature.