ORBITING GARDEN for piano (or, alternatively, for MIDI piano or amplified harpsichord) and tape. 1989. Commissioned by the Music Gallery for Anthony de Mare with a grant from the Canada Council. 15 minutes.

ORBITING GARDEN for accordion and tape. 1991. Accordion version commissioned by ConAccord Canada for Joseph Petric with a grant from the Laidlaw Foundation. 15 minutes. Score/part and DAT or ADAT tapes (The ADAT has a click track in addition to the audio track) available through PROMETHEAN EDITIONS.

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Nominated for a Juno Award (Classical Composition of the Year category) 2003
 


Orbiting Garden is the second piece in a pentalogy of works collectively called Earthrise (Also see: Nadir, The Temptation of St. Anthony, Crucifix and The Mega4 Meta4). It is my most often performed work in spite of the extreme technical demands it places on the performer. The difficulty does not lie in the material itself but in the tight coordination that is required between the live performer and the tape. The extremely hyperactive tape part (a study in microrhythms) makes it difficult to stay 'in the groove', but when played well, it is I think a rewarding piece for the listeners and (eventually) for the performers. As in the other pieces of Earthrise, the musical material plays equally significant roles on two different plains, 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 vocal cadenza at the end of Orbiting Garden is sung by my late friend Chari Polatos (who also sings the only recording to date of Crucifix).
 



Premiere performance: April 8, 1989 by Anthony de Mare. Music Gallery, Toronto.
 

Comments:

The title track Orbiting Garden is a sizzling Christos Hatzis cross-cultural romp, with flashing colours, genuine soul-filled electronics and triadic hooks to keep harmonies anchored. Tabla-like sounds suggest ragas and sitars, but with lots of lyrical wide-eyed wonder in their messages. Its 16-minutes fly, and one wonders how (well) the piece would work if scored for orchestra. [Joseph] Petric, as always, is amazing. James Manishen, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, March 29 2003 (Canada)

The first track on this album, Orbiting Garden, makes this CD well worth having. A cascading piece of continuous invention and momentum, this is one wild and playful ride. Written by Christos Hatzis in 1991...this remains a highly inventive post modern work hopping and skipping across great cultural divides. Themes are built from additive notes and micro-rhythmic motives and re-circulate throughout, along with brief snatches of Arabic strings, wordless chanting and a quote from Albinoni. The synchronization challenge for the live performer is immense. In spite of the variety of electronic sounds and influences the piece holds together and stands unique in the accordion repertoire (the original work was written for piano). I've not heard anything remotely like it. Steve Mobia, THE FREE-REED REVIEW.

...I love [Orbiting Garden.] I think that it is very exciting and engaging. The writing, the concept and your handling of the technology is quite thrilling. R. B. (USA)

To me [Orbiting Garden] represents the "thaw" which will penetrate the emotional deep freeze we are a part of in these challenging times. J. P. (Canada)

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