THE MEGA4 META4 for viola and tape. 1990. Commissioned by Douglas Perry with a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. 15 minutes. Score/part and CD with the audio playback component available through PROMETHEAN EDITIONS.
The Mega4 Meta4 is the fifth and final piece of Earthrise, a pentalogy of electroacoustic works (Also see: Nadir, Orbiting Garden, The Temptation of St. Anthony and Crucifix). With the exception of the opening pentatonic theme, the Mega4 Meta4 is constructed entirely from quoted material (mainly from the four earlier pieces of Earthrise and from Albinoni's Adagio in G minor for Organ and Strings.) The quoted material is used as a starting point. Once stated, it is developed, repeated and juxtaposed on top of other, sometimes non-compatible material in such a way that the overall effect is that of dynamic pluralism and constant motion in opposite directions. The Mega4 Meta4 brings all the aesthetic and technical concerns of the earlier pieces to their logical conclusion. To a considerably greater extent than the other four works of Earthrise, it is a 'dependent' composition. Not so much because it is not musically and dramatically self-contained, but because the development of its thematic and motivic ideas assume particular significance when seen against the background of how these same ideas were treated in the previous pieces. As in the other pieces of Earthrise, the musical material plays equally significant roles on two different planes, the purely musical and the symbolic. Even during its most outwardly mundane moments, the music has an inner cryptic identity. The choice of cheap 'street' material for example, and the conscious effort to realize the unexplored and often overlooked potential hidden within it, is to me, symbolically the musical analogue of the biblical quotation "The stone which was rejected by the architects has become a cornerstone". The chronological and geographical eclecticism, the transcendental union of heterogeneous materials, and my entire 'grassroots' approach to composition, are outward manifestation of deeper religious and philosophical convictions about our world and our role in it. 'Heavy' as all this may sound, the music itself is anything but. Throughout Earthrise there is a sense of 'lightness' which permeates every aspect of the composition. Religious symbolism and humor exist side-by-side in a mutually exclusive yet complementary partnership.
The Mega4 Meta4 takes its name from my first computer, an Atari
In truth, "multicultural" is too blunt and clumsy a term to describe the deeply personal fusion of traditions that sparks something like Hatzis's sound-collages (I am thinking of the Mega4 Meta4) where rhythmic bits and melodic pieces from his Greek birthplace are caught up in a great electronic swirl right out of "Star Wars".
Peter Goddard, THE TORONTO STAR (Canada).
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