FROM THE VANISHING GARDENS OF EDEN for twelve violas and tape. 1992. Commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the viola section of the Toronto Symphony. 13 minutes. Score, parts and BETA PCM tape (with click track for the conductor) available though PROMETHEAN EDITIONS.

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From the Vanishing Gardens of Eden is the third piece of an a tetralogy of electroacoustic works called Quaternio (also see: Pavillons En l' Air, The Birth of Venus and Of Threads and Labyrinths). It is inspired by the rapidly disappearing rain forests, which at this rate of destruction will soon be but a memory. It is also inspired by a much older memory of our mythical forests, those distant 'Gardens of Eden' inhabited by centaurs and nymphs and countless other magical beings, which were for many eons an integral and inseparable part of our psyche. At a superficial level the idea of 'forest' led to certain textural choices like the animal sounds used in the tape part, but more fundamentally, it led to a particular kind of counterpoint which is quite complex within the context of the viola ensemble, but simple and fairly landscaped when heard in conjunction with the tape. Thus the listener can either focus on the contrapuntal complexity of the viola forest (a complexity which is further enhanced by the fact that even at its denser moments the piece is essentially tonal, with tensions, resolutions, etc.) or, alternatively, immerse himself or herself into the overall effect. The latter would be the equivalent of flying over a forest and enjoying the long view which is more continuous and with fewer contradictions. From the Vanishing Gardens of Eden shares certain characteristics with two earlier electroacoustic works of mine, Pavillons En l' Air and The Birth of Venus. In the passacaglia-like quotation from The Birth of Venus there is a new voice added and the key rises a semitone at each repetition, but whereas in The Birth of Venus I am primarily concerned with 'New Age' ideas, here the same passage is used purely for contrapuntal purposes. From The Vanishing Gardens of Eden is dedicated to violist Steven Dann who commissioned the work and to the viola section of the Toronto Symphony.
 


Premiere performance: May 6 & 7 by the viola section of the Toronto Symphony, Hugh Wolf conducting. Evening Overtures. Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto.

Reviews:

The 13-minute work [ From the Vanishing Gardens of Eden]... is a startling marriage of viola ensemble to computer tape of such exquisite melody and texture that only the genius of Christos Hatzis could bring all the parts together without any imposing on the others.

Murray Gingsberg, INTERNATIONAL MUSICIAN (USA)
 


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