Nikos Skalkottas

Biography

Born: March 21, 1904; Halkis   Died: September 20, 1949; Athens, Greece  
Nikolaos Skalkottas is easily among the most important Greek composers from the first half of the twentieth century. Extremely talented from his early childhood, he mostly wrote serial and atonal music in his mature compositions and remained an almost totally unknown figure in his homeland and abroad throughout his short lifetime. His music eventually attracted some attention after his death, but still remains largely neglected.
Read more /> Skalkottas' family moved to Athens when he was two, and at age five the precocious Nikolaos began studies on the violin with his father and uncle, both good amateur musicians. He entered the Athens Conservatory in 1914 and graduated six years later as a virtuoso violinist, but with relatively little knowledge of composition. In 1921, he enrolled on a scholarship at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where he furthered his studies on the violin with Willy Hess and also began instruction in composition. He befriended Dimitri Mitropoulos, then also a student there, who may have encouraged his interest in the more modern methods of composition. Despite his successes on the violin -- Skalkottas had already given many stunning concerts, not least his rendition of the Beethoven violin concerto at his 1920 graduation from the Athens Conservatory -- he decided to shift his focus to composition in 1925. He began studying that year with Philipp Jarnach, having already written several atonal compositions, including a string quartet and string trio, the scores to which are both lost. Skalkottas did not abandon the violin during this period; indeed, he earned money playing in cafés and small ensembles to support his studies. He also received funds from a Greek patron, Manolis Benakis, until 1931, when a disagreement between the two erupted. In 1926, still under Jarnach's tutelage, Skalkottas also began studying orchestration with Kurt Weill. He concluded his work with both the following year, when he enrolled at the Preussische Akademie der Künsts to commence studies with Arnold Schoenberg, who would have the most profound influence on the young composer. Skalkottas had an affair with a violin student while at the Hochshcule, Matla Temko, who gave birth to a daughter. Finances became an increasing problem for the young composer, and Skalkottas finished his studies with Schoenberg in 1932. He returned to Athens the following year, having written a number of works, both tonal and atonal, including his Piano Concerto No. 1 (1931-1932). Skalkottas suffered from nervous problems after he returned to Greece and increasingly exhibited a withdrawn, melancholic personality. His works were roundly rejected by critics and public alike and in 1934, he had to turn once more to his violin to earn a living. He played in various Athens orchestras, including the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra. After writing little music for two years, he also returned to composing in 1934, but now did so in private. Skalkottas remained in Athens during the war, once getting arrested by the occupying Nazi forces on suspicion of resistance activity. Skalkottas married in 1946 and his wife gave birth to two children, the second of which was born on the day after the composer's premature death from a strangulated hernia on September 20, 1949. Following his death, Iohannes Papaioannou, Hans Keller, conductors Walter Goehr and Hermann Scherchen, and several other musicians began promoting Skalkottas' compositions, finally bringing recognition and a measure of fame to the neglected composer. Read less

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Works

Nikos Skalkottas


MOST POPULAR WORKS
I. Allegro giocoso
II. Pastorale. Andante tranquillo
III. Rondo. Allegro vivo
I. Allegro giocoso
II. Variations sur un theme grec Rembetiko. Andante
III. Finale and Rondo. Allegro molto vivace
I. Andante - Allegro
II. Andantino
III. Allegro vivo e molto ritmato
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante cantabile
III. Allegro vivace - Presto
I. Molto appassionato
II. Andante con spirito
III. Allegro vivo viacissimo - Prestissimo
Series I: I. Tsamikos, "An Eagle"
Series I: II. Critikos
Series I: III. Ipirotikos
Series I: IV. Peloponnissiakos
Series I: V. Critikos, "I enjoy no other dance"
Series I: VI. Kleftikos
Series I: VII. Sifneikos
Series I: VIII. Kalamatianos
Series I: IX. "Dance of Zalongo"
Series I: X. Macedonikos
Series I: XI. "Oh friends, who threw this apple?"
Series I: XII. Thessalikos
Series II: I. Syrtos
Series II: II. Sifneikos, "At Saint Marcella"
Series II: III. Critikos, "Early at dawn I will rise"
Series II: IV. Nissiotikos, "A woman from Mylopotamos"
Series II: V. Vlachikos
Series II: VI. "Black Sash"
Series II: VII. Kathistos
Series II: VIII. Chiotikos
Series II: IX. Tsamikos
Series II: X. Epitrapezios (Critikos)
Series II: XI. Macedonikos
Series II: XII. Peloponnissiakos, "The brave Lyngos"
I. Sinfonia
II. Concerto
III. Passacaglia
IV. Suita
V. Concertino
VI. Serenata
VII. Ragtime
VIII. Notturno
IX. Capriccio
X. Rondo
I. Allegro moderato - Rascher wie vorher - Moderato
II. Andante cantabile
III. Presto - Etwas langsamer (ruhiger) - Tempo I
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante
III. Rondo: Allegro vivace
I. The harvest
II. The seedling
III. The vintage
IV. The wine press
I. Allegro furioso, quasi presto
II. Adagietto
III. Allegro ritmato
IV. Adagio - Allegro molto moderato
I. Allegro giusto
II. Andante
III. Maestoso - Vivace
I. Moderato
II. Adagio
III. Allegro moderato
WORKS
I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro giusto - Allegro vivace
I. Allegro giocoso
II. Pastorale. Andante tranquillo
III. Rondo. Allegro vivo
I. Allegro giocoso
II. Variations sur un theme grec Rembetiko. Andante
III. Finale and Rondo. Allegro molto vivace
I. Andante - Allegro
II. Andantino
III. Allegro vivo e molto ritmato
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante cantabile
III. Allegro vivace - Presto
I. Allegro molto vivace
II. Andantino
III. Allegro moderato
I. Moderato
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Allegro giocoso
I. Molto appassionato
II. Andante con spirito
III. Allegro vivo viacissimo - Prestissimo
I. Allegro ordinario e un poco agitato
II. Andante molto espressivo
III. Molto vivace
IV. Bauern Tanz-Szenen: Allegro vivo
I. Allegro vivo
II. Andante
III. Ben ritenuto
Series I: I. Tsamikos, "An Eagle"
Series I: II. Critikos
Series I: III. Ipirotikos
Series I: IV. Peloponnissiakos
Series I: V. Critikos, "I enjoy no other dance"
Series I: VI. Kleftikos
Series I: VII. Sifneikos
Series I: VIII. Kalamatianos
Series I: IX. "Dance of Zalongo"
Series I: X. Macedonikos
Series I: XI. "Oh friends, who threw this apple?"
Series I: XII. Thessalikos
Series II: I. Syrtos
Series II: II. Sifneikos, "At Saint Marcella"
Series II: III. Critikos, "Early at dawn I will rise"
Series II: IV. Nissiotikos, "A woman from Mylopotamos"
Series II: V. Vlachikos
Series II: VI. "Black Sash"
Series II: VII. Kathistos
Series II: VIII. Chiotikos
Series II: IX. Tsamikos
Series II: X. Epitrapezios (Critikos)
Series II: XI. Macedonikos
Series II: XII. Peloponnissiakos, "The brave Lyngos"
No. 1. Epirotikos (Dance from Epirus): Moderato
No. 2. Peloponnisiakos (Dance from Peloponnesos): Allegro - Andante
No. 3. Kalamatianos (Dance from Kalamata): Moderato
No. 4. Mariori mou (My Mariori): Moderato assai e molto espressivo - Prestissimo - Moderato assai
No. 5. Pedia ke pios to petaxe (Boys, who threw it?): Allegretto moderato
No. 6. Kritikos (Dance from Crete): Allegretto moderato
No. 7. Sifneikos (Dance from Sifnos): Allegro ben ritmico
No. 8. Makedonikos (Dance from Macedonia): Moderato - Andante moderato - Moderato
No. 9. Enas Aitos (An Eagle): Allegro moderato
I. Potamos (The River): Andante
II. O Elympos ki o Kissavos (Olympos and Kissavos): Lento a piacere
III. Ande kimisou kori mou (Sleep, My Daughter): Andante
I. The Trawler
II. Building of Fishing Boat
III. Sea Waves
IV. Launching the Fishing Boat
V. Greek Dance
VI. Sunday in Church - Feast
Adagio
Moderato
I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro vivo
I. Tanz - Preludio
II. Griechisches Volkslied: Andante moderato
III. Wie ein Bauerntanz: Allegro vivace
I. Poco lento
II. Andante
III. Allegro vivace
I. Overture
II. Fairy Tale
III. Ballet - Dance of the Faires
IV. Love scene
V. Argyro´s Song
VI. Little Dance Song
VII. Folk - song
VIII. Short folk dance
IX. Prelude
X. The mother´s lament
I. Sinfonia
II. Concerto
III. Passacaglia
IV. Suita
V. Concertino
VI. Serenata
VII. Ragtime
VIII. Notturno
IX. Capriccio
X. Rondo
I. Allegro moderato - Rascher wie vorher - Moderato
II. Andante cantabile
III. Presto - Etwas langsamer (ruhiger) - Tempo I
I. Klavierstuck
II. Kinder-Tanz
III. Kurze Variationen auf ein Bergsthema sudlichen Characters und pragnanter Dissonanz
IV. Katastrophe auf dem Urwald (Filmmusik)
V. Griechischer Volkstanz
VI. Reveria im alten Stil
VII. Reveria im neuen Stil
VIII. Vierstimmiger kleiner Kanon
IX. Marcia funebra
X. Sonatina
XI. Partita
XII. Kleine Serenade
XIII. Intermezzo
XIV. Tango
XV. Passacaglia
XXXI. Walzer
XXXII. Kleiner Bauernmarsch
Etude I
Etude II
Etude III
Etude IV
Preludio
Serenade
Menuetto
Finale
I. Moderato assai
II. Rondo. Vivace
I. Allegro giusto
II. Andante con variazioni
III. Allegro (ben ritmato) vivace
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante
III. Rondo: Allegro vivace
I. Allegro molto vivace
II. Thema con Variazioni: Andante molto espressivo
III. Scherzo: Presto - Ein wenig langsamer
IV. Allegro giusto (e ben ritmato)
Scherzo
Menuetto Cantato
I. The harvest
II. The seedling
III. The vintage
IV. The wine press
I Allegro molto vivace
II. Andantino
III. Presto
I. Molto allegro marcato
II. Andantino
III. Rondo: Molto vivace
I. Allegro furioso, quasi presto
II. Adagietto
III. Allegro ritmato
IV. Adagio - Allegro molto moderato
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante
III. Allegro molto vivace
I. Allegretto vivace
II. Siciliano
III. (Rondo)
I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro vivace
I. Allegro giusto
II. Andante
III. Maestoso - Vivace
I. Moderato
II. Adagio
III. Allegro moderato
I. Perfection
II. Glimmer
III. Ad apertum Libri
IV. Night-Time
V. Revelation/Apocalypse
VI. Loneliness
VII. Spring
VIII. Fig Tree
IX. Chrysanthemums
X. Passage
XI. The Loom´s Song
XII. Farmer
XIII. Reeds
XIV. Orchard
XV. This Evening
XVI. Autumn
Theme: Andantino
Variation 1.: Allegretto
Variation 2.: Moderato
Variation 3.: Allegro ritmato
Preludio
Serenade
Menuetto
Finale
I. Introduction. Molto allegro e vivace
II. Espressivo molto
III. in the Underworld. Allegro scherzando
IV. Carol
V. Hearth
VI. Carol
VII. (I). Allegretto
VIII. (II). Allegro ironico
IX. The Monster. Poco vivace
X. Chase. Molto allegro
XI. Dismissal. Allegretto
XII. Chorale
XIII. The Song of Joy. Allegro vivace
XIV. Finale. Andante
I. The Harvest
II. The Sowing
III. The Vintage
IV. The Grape Stomping
V. The Trawler
VI. Dance of the Waves
Moderato maestoso
Allegro
Andantino - Tempo di Valse (Lento) - Allegro moderato - Lento
Vivo; Allegro
Lentement
Moderato assai; Lento - Allegro moderato - Lento
I. Prelude
II. The Child of the Sea
III. Dance of the Waves
IV. The Trawl
V. The Little Fish
VI. The Dolphins
VII. Nocturne
VIII. The Preparation of the Mermaid
IX. Dance of the Mermaid
X. The Tale of Alexander the Great
XI. Finale, "Hymn to the Sea"
I. Andante - Allegro giusto - Andante
II. Thema con variazioni -
III. Molto vivace
I. Moderato
II. Andante
III. Presto


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