Constantinople and En Chordais, two of the leading ensembles specializing in the musical traditions of the Mediterranean, joined by Suzie LeBlanc and Drosos Koutsokostas, two great voices from Canada and Greece respectively, combine their talent and creativity to offer us a memorable musical journey in homage to El Greco (1541-1614). This concert transports us into the sound universe of the Renaissance period, blending the ancient music of Greece, Italy and Spain to create a musical canvas inspired by the time and places where the great Cretan El Greco lived and worked.
Several studies have highlighted the multiple facets of El Greco’s personality and work. His special relationship with music remains a mystery, however, although we know that he was a music lover thanks to an account by one of his close contemporaries, Giuseppe Martinez: “He made a very good living and lived luxuriously in a royal 24-room apartment… he hired and paid musicians daily to play for him while he dined.” (Discursos practicables del nobilísimo arte de la pintura, c.1675).
Over the course of his career, El Greco made the choice, whether deliberate or imposed, to re-evaluate his pictorial technique, transforming himself from a representative of the post-Byzantine Cretan school to one of the most prominent figures in Western painting. It is safe to assume that he grappled with the same challenges faced by countless musicians, both past and present, whose methodologies are influenced by global trends and encounters with other aesthetic approaches and traditions. While times have changed since the days of El Greco, the same artistic imperatives and dilemmas have persisted throughout the ages. May this concert be worthy of accompanying one of the meals of Domínikos Theotokópoulos, the great man better known as El Greco.
Kyriakos Kalaitzidis & Kiya Tabassian, codirecteurs artistiques