MUSIC as MUSIC

Besides his constant preoccupation with ‘staged music’, Pittas has always composed also for the orchestra (symphonic or chamber) as well as for individual or combined instruments and voices. Most of his ‘concert works’ have been performed in Europe and the US by various soloists, symphony orchestras and music ensembles. He believes that the overall development of his music, i.e. not only the music intended for the stage, owes a lot to the theatre, to the Classical Greek drama scripts in particular, as well as to those of some contemporary dramatists and poets.

Setting poetry to music is indeed a favorite field for his composing adventures. He approaches poetry with an open music mind and sensitivity, never trying to enforce into them a premeditated ‘style’ or type of music, eg. ‘classical’ or ‘popular’. The verses will determine the way of music expression he will take, following the feelings and emotions these verses evoke in him. His youthful and still continuing music adventures in song writing have something to do with his approach but even more so, once again, his music experiences in the theatre. When it comes to Aristophanes and his direct, even bold, ways of expression, the music should further enhance these qualities not confuse and undermine them.

Listen to Music extract 2, Aristophanes, The Birds.

On the other hand when approaching "Helen" the very emotional but also rather complex poem by George Seferis, he chooses a very different form of music expression.

Listen to Music extract 3, Helen.

His interest in certain aspects of Traditional Greek Music has also played an important part in the making of his personal music language. He followed this interest further a field when he was commissioned by the BBC in 1986, to write the music for the BBC World Service Radio Documentary series in 24 parts, "Greek Homelands in Asia Minor" researched and produced by Doxa Sivropoulos. For the music in that series he resorted only to old, traditional folk instruments performed by the ‘Aegean Forces’ a popular Greek band specializing in these instruments.

Listen to Music extract 4, Greek Homelands in Asia Minor.

Sometimes, many of the different, contrasting elements of his music world meet and merge together effectively in his large scale orchestral/vocal compositions. Which elements, how, and to what extent, depends on the context of the works, the poems involved and the subject matter. Such large scale symphonic works of his that have been performed are:

"Hamathen". On poems by Roys Papangelou inspired by the 1974 Cyprus tragedy (premiered in 1994 by Britain’s National Symphony Orchestra & soloists)

"... a deeply moving work, one of the most profound ever inspired by Cyprus, it literary shook the audience"
...Marina Schiza, writing in ‘Phileleftheros’ after "Hamathen"

" A grandly rich sound. Pittas used the voices masterly, like natural instruments moved by a sacred frenzy"...Niki Katsaouni, writing in ‘Phileleftheros’.

Video Extracts from "Lumen Tristis" (Roys Papangelou)

With The National Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra and female Chorus, piano Vicky Stylianou, Mezzo Soprano Angeliki Kathariou, Tenor Vangelis Simos. Conductor Andreas Pylarinos.

Part 1




Video Extracts from "Lumen Tristis"

Part 2



"Rime D’Amore", based on 16th Century Petrarchian love poems, which was specially commissioned for the occasion of Cyprus joining the European monetary zone and premiered by the Cyprus State Orchestra and soloists in 2008.

Chris PittasIn setting to music some of these unique 16th Century poems, written in the Cypriot dialect and kept in the Marciana Library of Venice, Pittas decided to combine three solo classical voices (soprano, tenor, baritone) with that of a more popular non classical male voice which he called the ‘Troubadour’ all accompanied by a Symphony orchestra of classical size and solo parts for piano and harpsichord.

Listen to Music extract 6, Rime d'Amore.

"1973". Inspired by the 1973 Greek students uprising and based on poems by Vassilis Vassilikos. The work is for a large symphony orchestra, solo piano, Electronic Sound Track and a Vocal soloist. Interestingly Pittas incorporated in the E. Sound Track the voice of Maria Farantouri singing at the Round House, more than 30 years earlier, one of his early songs about the students’ revolt.

Listen to Music extract 7, 1973.



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Extract from "Idola", Suita Concertante.

With the London Chamber Orchestra, solo violin Irvin Arditti, conductor the composer

Music by Christos Pittas

Extracts from "The Birds" (Aristophanes)

BBC Production directed by John Theocharis, sung by cast and solo tenor Martyn Hill.


Extract from "Helen" (G.Seferis)

With Soprano Katerina Mina and the Cyprus State Orchestra under Alkis Baltas.





"Greek Homelands in Asia Minor"

A BBC/ERA Radio documentary. Performed by the ‘Aegean Forces’ band.






















































































Extract from "Rime d’Amore"

With the Cyprus State Orchestra, pianist Vicky Stylianou, Soprano Katerina Mina, Tenor Nikos Stefanou, Baritone Kyros Patsalides and ‘Troubadour’ Alkinoos Ioannides. Conductor Alkis Baltas














Extract from"1973"

its first performance in November 2008 at ‘Megaron’, the Athens Concert Hall
With the National Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, pianist Vicky Stylianou and soprano Katerina Mina. Conductor Andreas Pylarinos.