CONFESSIONAL for violoncello and orchestra (2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 French horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba, 1 harp, 2 percussion, strings: 8, 7, 6, 6, 2.) 1997. Commissioned by Shauna Rolston with funds from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council. 18 minutes. Score and parts available through PROMETHEAN EDITIONS.
Excerpt from the premiere performance,
Avison Series, October 25, 1988. Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Vancouver, BC.
Shauna Rolston, solo cello
The CBC Radio Orchestra
Mario Bernardi, conductor
CBC Broadcast Recording
But the program justified itself with...the premiere of a ravishing Canadian work, Christos Hatzis' Confessional for cello and orchestra, featuring cellist Shauna Rolston. The piece represents a series of evolutions in faith and is profoundly beautiful, sensuous and full of contrast, with a radiant (and difficult) part for the cello. Rolston, as precise as she was fearless, was amazing, and so was the orchestra in a role that shimmers with exotic colours. How often do you hear a piece of new music and want to rehear it again right away? Lloyd Dykk, THE VANCOUVER SUN (Canada)
Shauna Rolston's performance of Christos Hatzis' Confessional for Cello and Orchestra (2001) was exceptional. Her intensity was equaled by this emotive journey. Based on the Greek Orthodox chant “Ton Nymphona Sou Vlepo”, this work carefully and effectively metamorphoses the chant through juxtapositions and derivations which culminate in a very personal and touching statement at the completion of the work. Jessica Agrell-Smith, DISCOURSES IN MUSIC. Volume 3 Number 2 (Winter 2001-2).
All Things Must Pass. The EYE music staff looks back at the definitive musical moments of 2001.
Shauna Rolston leaves no neck un-goosebumped performing Christos Hatzis' intense Confessional at Massey Hall, Nov. 22. Mike Doherty. EYE Magazine (CANADA)
The centrepiece of the concert was cellist Shauna Rolston's rendition of Confessional by the Greek-Canadian composer Christos Hatzis. This ambitious work for cello and orchestra is a meditation on a Byzantine chant entitled "I see your bridal chamber, my Lord, and I wear not the proper vestments to enter". Its musical language is exceedingly eclectic, ranging from complex textures and exotic-sounding tonalities to an unaccompanied recapitulation of the chant tune with which the cello concludes the piece. Along the way, there is every manner of invention, including a brief episode in jazz rhythms. One might expect the jazzy bit to sound out of place in a piece like this, but the work's organic integrity never falters. Confessional was written for Rolston, so it's not surprising that she plays it with complete authority, not to mention consummate feeling. The orchestral work was pleasing as well, assured and idiomatic. Despite the music's relatively "modern" sound, Monday's audience applauded the performance warmly. Richard Todd, reviewer for the OTTAWA CITIZEN (Canada) November 2002.
There are no superlatives adequate to apply to Shauna Rolston nowadays. The Canadian cellist has gone from strength to strength since she eclipsed rival Ofra Harnoy in the early 1990's and this recent CBC Records release continues the procession of excellent work...Confessional by Christos Hatzis, based on a Byzantine chant, is another superb work from this composer. Fluid lines caress the listener so that the ending seems to come all too soon... John S. Gray, WHOLENOTE Magazine (Canada) April 2003.
You cannot listen to Hatzis' "Confessional" without getting goosebumps. Rolston is at the top of her game on this one. Amazon.com listener review.