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Music Education in Nineteenth-Century Greece: Its Institutions and their Contribution to Urban Musical Life

  • Katy Romanou (a1) and Maria Barbaki (a1)

This article explores the music education of the Greek people in the nineteenth century, as revealed through the description of music education in Constantinople, Corfu and Athens.

Before the establishment of the new state of Greece early in the nineteenth century, both Greeks and Europeans speak of ‘Greece’, referring to Greek communities beyond its borders. Music education in those communities consisted mainly of the music of the Greek Orthodox Church – applying a special notation, appropriate to its monophonic, unaccompanied chant – and Western music, and was characterized by the degree to which either culture prevailed. The antithesis of those music cultures was best represented, at least up to the 1850s, among the Greeks living in Constantinople – the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church – and Corfu of the Ionian Islands – where Italian music was assimilated. Athens was elected in 1834 as the capital of the Greek state because of its ancient monuments and did not attain the significance of a contemporary cultural centre before the 1870s. In Athens, these two musical cultures were absorbed and transformed through their confrontation and interaction. However, the new state's political orientation determined the predominance of Western music in music education in the capital.

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1 Three dates usually appear as marking the establishment of the Greek state: 1822, when a Greek assembly in Epidauros proclaimed the country's independence, 1828, when Ioannis Capodistria became its first governor and 1830 when the independence of the country was recognized by its ‘protecting forces’, i.e. Great Britain, France and Russia.

2 Α consequent characteristic of life and musical life in particular was multilingualism. Although present also in Constantinople and Athens, it was most prominent in Corfu. Greek, French, Italian, English (and very rarely German) words are often mixed together in one text, in scores etc.

3 Symphonic concerts by professional orchestras, the aesthetics that called for the preservation of a work's integrity, audiences educated to receive satisfaction by ‘following’ the forms and techniques of the music and the repertory itself of the great German and French symphonists of the century would transform Italian musical life after the proclamation of the country's unity. Beethoven's symphonies were unknown to the Italian public before the celebrations of his centenary in 1870. For a sound study of the subject, see Rostagno, A., La Musica Italiana per Orchestra nell'Ottocento (Firenze: Leo S. Olschki, 2003), esp. 21–52.

4 Because of the city's young age in that century, archives are badly organized or non-existent for many aspects of life, and musicological research is usually frustrating. In Constantinople and especially in Corfu archival research is much more rewarding.

5 See Mitsakis, K., ‘Byzantine and Modern Greek Parahymnography’ in D. Conomos (ed.), Studies in Eastern Chant 5 (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminar Press, 1990): 976.

6 Mazower, M., The Balkans. From the End of the Byzantium to the Present Day (London: Pheonix Press, 2000): 51.

7 The term ‘Greek Enlightenment’ has been applied by historians to denote the secularization of ideas and education, brought about by the gradual assimilation by Greeks of Western eighteenth-century spiritual advancements. Greek Enlightenment is conventionally dated from the 1770s to 1821, the year of the Greek Revolution.

8 In the eleventh century, Michael Psellos made a political decision to disseminate an awareness of ancient Greek inheritance to the Greek-speaking Byzantines, in order to ensure the endangered unity of the empire. This awareness was also maintained during the Ottoman dominion. As expressed by Steven Runciman, ‘it was Orthodoxy that preserved Hellenism through the dark centuries; but without the moral force of Hellenism Orthodoxy itself might have withered’. Runciman, S., The Great Church in Captivity. A Study of the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the Eve of the Turkish Conquest to the Greek War of Independence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968): 410.

9 They are generally conceived by Greeks either as opposing or successive.

10 About the music schools founded in previous centuries by the Great Church, see Papadopoulos, G., Historike Episkopesis tes Byzantines Ekklesiastikes Musikes apo ton Apostolikon chronon mechri ton kath'hemas (1–100 μ.X.) [Historic Review of Byzantine Ecclesiastical Music, from the Apostolic Years up to Our Days (1–100 ad)], (Katerini: Tertios, 1990 [Athens, 1904]): 232–45.

11 It should be noted that in Greece, the term ‘Byzantine music’ is used to denote all the phases of this music's development (as is the case with Gregorian chant).

12 Questions (and answers) related to the new notation method, asked in examinations given in the Patriarchate before members of the Holy Synod. It was sent by a graduate from Iaşi and Chrysanthos appears as its author, in 1816. See ‘Musike’, Hermes ho Logios 7 (Athens: Hetæreia Hellenikou Logotechnikou kæ Historikou Archeiou, 1990 [Vienna, 1817]): 431–3.

13 Hermes ho Logios circulated fortnightly from January 1811 to May 1821 (with an interruption in 1815, when only one issue appeared).

14 Fétis, F.-J., Biographie Universelle des Musiciens et Bibliographie Générale de la Musique, (Bruxelles: Culture et Civilisation, 1972 [Paris 1873]) and Histoire Générale de la Musique. Depuis les Temps les plus Anciens jusqu’ à nos Jours, 4 vols (Zurich, New York: Georg Olms Hildensheim, 1983 [Paris 1874]), IV: 52–6.

15 See details on this subject, including Chrysanthos’ great dependence on Western sources, in the translator's introduction in Chrysanthos of Madytos, Great Theory of Music, trans. Katy Romanou, (New Rochelle, New York: The Axion Estin Foundation, 2010), 10–25.

16 ‘Chrysanthe de Madyte’, in: F.-J. Fétis, Biographie Universelle des Musiciens et Bibliographie Générale de la Musique, (Bruxelles: Culture et Civilisation, 1972 [Paris 1873]) and Ladas, G., Ta Prota Typomena Biblia Byzantines Musikes [The First Published Books of Byzantine Music]. (Athens: Cultura, 1978): 19–26.

17 Ladas, ibid., 20–25.

18 Chrysanthos covers the subject of ancient Greek music in a broad and comprehensive manner. Aristoxenos, Pseudo-Eucleides, Nicomachos of Gerasa, Gaudentios, Baccheios the Old, Aristeides Quintilianos, all writers published by Marcus Meibom (Amsterdam, 1652), are frequently quoted or referred to, as well as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Athenæos and many more. A special chapter is devoted to Manuel Bryennios’ Harmonics, as this is the first treatise to relate ancient Greek tones to Byzantine echoi (modes).

19 The Greek Church was proclaimed autocephalous in 1833 but recognized as such by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1850.

20 See Erol, M., ‘Cultural Identifications of the Greek Orthodox Elite of Constantinople. Discourse on Music in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries’ (PhD dissertation, Bogaziçi University of Istanbul 2009): 66.

21 Ibid., 69.

22 Ibid., 68.

23 Ibid., 77.

24 Papadopoulos, Historike Episkopesis, 235.

25 Ibid., 236–7.

26 On this and other keyboard instruments for the instruction of the Byzantine echoi (modes), see Romanou, K., ‘Keyboards for the Eight Echoi’, Acta Musicæ Byzantinæ 9 (Iaşi, May 2006): 1722.

27 Papadopoulos, Historike Episkopesis, 248.

28 Ibid., 250.

29 Ibid., 250–51.

30 Ibid., 407–32.

31 It is indicative of the Italians’ role in the Westernization of the East, that this Raffaele Ricci appears in 1840 in the orchestra of Corfu's opera theatre San Giacomo as ‘Primo violino direttore d'orchestra’. In that position he was replaced in 1841 by Raffaele Parisini, who became very important in Athens. In Constantinople, Ricci was connected to other societies also, Greek as well as Armenian. Another Italian active in those years in Constantinople and Athens was Gaetano Foschini, who produced in Constantinople his music for Sophocles’ Antigone (1863) and his opera Giorgio il Bandito (1864), was a collaborator on the Armenian music periodical of Constantinople, K'nar Haykakan [Armenian Lyre], and in 1871 was in Athens, teaching and performing the piano. See M. Erol, ‘Cultural Identifications’, 110; and Romanou, K., Entechne Hellenike Musike stous Neoterous Chronous [Greek Art Music in Recent Times], (Athens: Cultura, 2006): 105.

32 There have been several attempts to write polyphonic music in Byzantine notation. An early one is given in Chrysanthos of Madytos, see Fig. 4. It is a transcription of two metres from a vocal Gloria in four parts by Alexandre-Étienne Choron. The fact that neumes do not indicate pitches but intervals, produces problems in the division of a tune into metres. This substantial difference of Byzantine from staff notation was not conceived by the reformer of the notation, who gave to the (intervallic) neumes names indicating the second pitch of the interval they designate.

33 Given in Greek (as Paulos Stoppel and Richardos Foisteros), the names could not be identified.

34 Son of Frederick North, Second Earl of Guilford, prime minister from 1770 to 1782.

35 Guilford wrote fluently in ancient Greek and tried to adapt his writing in order to be understood by modern Greeks. His first ever text published in the periodical was requested by Constantinos Nicolopoulos (whose texts appeared very frequently in the periodical). It is a letter thanking the Philomusos Hetæreia of Athens for asking him to become President. Guilford signed initially with a Greek transliteration of his name (Friderichos Northios), but then, as many did in this periodical, he used a pseudonym: Philotimos Philanthropides Cosmopolites [Conscientious, Philanthropist, Cosmopolitan], a humorous comment on the pseudonym Christophoros Theophilos Christianoupolites [Christophorus, Theophilus, Christian citizen] of Ilarion the Cretan, who was publishing offensive articles against the supporters of the Greek Enlightenment. Guilford's texts in Hermes ho Logios are published in vol. 9 (1819), 179–80, 601–6, 812–14).

36 Hel. Angelomate-Tsoungarake, , Ta Taxidia tou Lordou Guilford sten Anatolike Mesogeio [The Trips of Lord Guilford in the Eastern Mediterranean] (Athens: Akademia Athenon, 2000): 3 and 9.

37 According to some sources, Guilford was baptized an Orthodox Christian in 1791. See Vrokines, L., ‘Georgiou Prosalendou, Anekdota Cheirographa aforonta ten kata to Dogma tes Orthodoxou Ekklesias Baptisin tou Anglou Philhellenos Cometos Guilford nyn Proton Ekdidomena …’ [‘Georgios Prosalendes’ Unpublished Manuscripts, related to the Baptism of the Philhellene count Guilford to the Dogma of the Orthodox Church, hereby Published for the First Time…’], Erga II [Works II] (Corfu: Kerkyraika Chronika 17, 1973): 1–108.

38 See Hel. Angelomate-Tsoungarake, , He Ionios Academia. To chroniko tes Hidryses tou Protou Hellenikou Panepistemiou (1811–24) [The Ionian Academy. The Chronicle of the Foundation of the First Greek University (1811–24)] (Athens: Ho Mikros Romeos, 1997): 38.

39 ‘Per la Scienza della Musica, antica e moderna, sacra e profana, da quattro anni a questa parte ho rimpiegato a Napoli il Diacono Giovanni Aristide di Jannina …’ From a report to Lord Ponsonby, Secretary of the Senate, dated ‘Corfù li 31 Marzo 1823’, quoted in Angelomate-Tsoungarake, He Ionios Academia, 290.

40 Letter written in Corfu, on 25 January 1824, quoted in ibid., 312–13.

41 Epeirotika Chronika [Epeirotic Chronicles], vol. X (1935): 145–6.

42 Typaldos-Jacobatos, G., Historia tes Ionias Academias [History of the Ionian Academy] (Athens: Hermes, 1982): 47.

43 Chiotes, P., Historika Apomnemoneumata Heptanesou ... [Historic Memoirs on the Heptanese…], vol. VI (Athens: Karavias, 1980 [Zakynthos, 1887]): 251.

44 It is still operating today, but in parallel with similar societies, music conservatories and the music department of the Ionian University, established in 1994.

45 This important corpus of manuscripts was found in August 1999 in the Society's music library. See Romanou, K., ‘Hena Archeio “Cretikes Musikes” sten Philharmonike Hetæreia Kerkyras’ [‘An archive of “Cretan Music” in the Philharmonic Society of Corfu’], Musicologia 12–13 (2000): 175–188; and Romanou, K., Zotos, al., He musike bibliotheke tes Philharmonikes Hetæreias Kerkyras [The Music Library of the Corfu Philharmonic Society] (Athens: Cultura, 2004): 85–102.

46 For their statements, see Romanou, K., ‘The Ionian Islands’ in, Serbian & Greek Art Music. A Patch to Western Music History (Bristol and Chicago: Intellect, 2009): 99–124 (pp. 105–6).

47 See Kardamis, Costas, Nicolaos Chalikiopoulos Manzaros ‘Henoteta mesa sten Pollaploteta’ [Nicolaos Chalikiopoulos Manzaros ‘Unity within Plurality’], (Corfù: Hetæreia Kerkyraikon Spoudon, 2008): 42–50, 73.

48 Under Napoleon in 1796, many conservatories closed in Naples because of their connection to the church. Among those that re-opened (during Napoleon's dominion), four Neapolitan conservatories were united in 1807 into the Royal Music College [or Conservatorio] of San Sebastiano, which, when installed in the monastery of San Pietro à Majella in 1826, took this monastery's name. In 1813 Nicolò Zingarelli succeeded Fenaroli, Tritto and Paisiello who co-directed the conservatory. Fenaroli was the author of an extremely popular and influential treatise on the partimenti that was widely disseminated. Zingarelli was in Corfu in 1822 and was befriended by Manzaro.

49 Sp. Motsenigos, Neohellenike Musike [Neohellenic Music] (Athens, no pub., 1958): 151.

50 Ibid., 104.

51 They are listed in Kardamis, Nicolaos Chalikiopoulos, 122.

52 Rapporto del Cav. N. C. Manzaro presidente della Musica della Societa Filarmonica di Corfù ec. ec. Relativo al dono di alcune opere di Monsigny e Grétry fatto alla medesima dal Ciarissimo di lei Socio Onorario J. Lardin di Parigi. (Corfù: Tipografia Scheria, 1851).

53 Such competitions took place in 1861, 1867, 1876 and 1884, rewarding some of the famous composers of the Ionian Islands.

54 Ekthesis ton Criton tou Musikou Diagonismatos tes en Kerkyra Philharmonikes Hetæreias Anagnostheisa en te apo 27 Janouariou 1885 Ektakto Synedriasei autes [Exposition of the Evaluators of the Music Competition of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu. Read in its Extraordinary Meeting of 27 January 1885] (Corfù: Typographeion He Kerkyra, 1885).

55 For the study of the violin there are ‘libri’, numbered according to the technical difficulties and the hand positions required, containing etudes by Delphin Alard, Czerny & Leon Herz, G. Kudelski, di Litte Dancla, Hans Sütt and more. See Romanou, Zotos et al., He musike bibliotheke, item nos 26–30, 316–31, 335–40, 362, 439, 440.

56 For the study of the piano, in the Music Library of Corfu are books containing etudes by Czerny (24 Piccoli Studi per Pianoforte and Il Primo maestro di pianoforte), Clementi (Gradus ad Parnassum and Preludi ed Esercizi), A. Le Carpentier (Corso Pratico di Piano-Forte) and Adam & Assioli (Metodo per Pianoforte). See Romanou, Zotos et al., He musike bibliotheke, item nos 20–25, 242, 334, 380, 381, 963.

57 For their works, see Romanou, ‘The Ionian Islands’, 110–11.

58 The transliteration into Greek of the names of all foreign musicians who were engaged in Greek music schools and societies hinders the study of a very interesting phenomenon, the migration of Western musicians to the East.

59 See Bacciagaluppi, C.‘L'accompagnamento del recitativo semplice nell'Ottocento’, Rivista Italiana di Musicologia 41/1 (Firenze, 2008): 101134. See also, Romanou, K., ‘Cembalo gia ton Nabucco? Basso continuo stis parastaseis operas tes Italias kai tes Kerkyras ton 19o aiona’ [‘A Cembalo for Nabucco? Basso Continuo in Opera Performances in Italy and Corfu in the 19th Century’], Polyphonia, vol. 17 (Autumn 2010): 155–166.

60 ‘I. Marangones’. The initial may stand for Ioseph, that is Giuseppe, the name of a significant double bass player in La Scala (1866–1947) who owned an expensive instrument. No chronology of his teaching in Corfu is given in the pamphlet.

61 Paulo Carrer's Isabella d'Aspeno, La Rediviva and Fior di Maria; Spyridon Xynda's Anna Winter; Eduardo Lambelet's Olema la Schiava and Il Castello Maledetto; Domenico Padovani's Dirce Figlia di Aristodemo. A turning point was the 1867 production of Spyridon Xyndas’ Hypopsephios Vouleutes [The Candidate for Member of Parliament], the first opera with a Greek libretto and a modern Greek subject.

62 In 1853 Athens had close to 30,600 inhabitants; in 1879, 65,500 and in 1896, 123,000 inhabitants.

63 Refugees from regions of Greece still under the Ottomans were crowded in Ægina and other liberated areas. The school of Ægina had 129 pupils in 1829; only 2 were from Ægina, while 106 were from Psara (destroyed in 1824). See Prassa, A., ‘He ekpædeuse sten Ægina kata ten Epanastatike kai Capodistriake Periodo’ [‘Education in Ægina during the Revolutionary and the Capodistrian Periods’], He Æginæa, periodike poltistike ekdose 3 (Ægina: Jan.—Jun. 2001): 77–89 (p. 80).

64 Lappas, C., Panepistemio kæ phoitetes sten Hellada kata ton 19ο æona [University and Students in Greece during the Nineteenth Century], (Athens: Kentro Neohellenikon Ereunon, 2004): 37.

65 Synadinos, T.N., Historia tes Neohellenikes musikes. 1824–1919 [History of Neohellenic Music. 1824–1919] (Athens: Typos, 1919): 106–7.

66 The University of Athens, founded in 1837, was organized on the model of German universities. See Demaras, A. (ed.), He Metarrhythmise pou den egine, [The Reformation that did not Occur], II (Athens: Ekdotike Hermes E.P.E., 1974): 325. However, a music department was only established in 1991.

67 See, ‘Parisini (Ignace)’ in F.-J. Fétis, Biographie Universelle des Musiciens et Bibliographie Générale de la Musique, (Bruxelles: Culture et Civilisation, 1972 [Paris 1873]).

68 The names of G. Parisini and his son Rafaele are connected with the instruction of music in what is, since 1882, the Polytechnic School of Athens. In 1843 it was a department of the School of the Arts, consisting also of a department of artisans and a department for Fine Arts.

69 Sessa, A., Il Melodrama Italiano 1861–1900, (Firenze: Leo S. Olschki, 2003): 58.

70 They derive from Barbaki, M., ‘Hoi protoi musikoi syllogoi tes Athenas kæ tou Peiræa kæ he symvole tous ste musike pædeia (1871–1909)’ [‘The First Music Associations of Athens and Piræus and their Contribution to Music Education (1871–1909)’] (PhD dissertation, National and Capodistrian University of Athens, School of Philosophy, Department of Music 2009).

71 Many societies operated for less than a year and left no imprint on the musical life of the city.

72 Periodicals published then to protect traditional music uncovered a great number of musicians mastering the new method of Byzantine notation. See Romanou, K., Ethnikes Musikes Periegesis. Hellenika Musika Periodika os Pege Ereunas tes Historias tes Neohellenikes Musikes [Wandering National Music. Greek Music Periodicals as a Source for Research in the History of Neohellenic Music], I (Athens: Cultura, 1996).

73 The earliest editions of the Greek mass harmonizing appeared in Vienna in 1842 and the most successful in 1844; the latter was the collaboration of the Greek chanter Ioannes Chaviaras and the Austrian tenor and composer Benedikt Randhartinger. See Jaklitsch, N.-M., ‘Benedikt Randhartinger zur Vertonung der griechisch-orthodoxen Jahresliturgie’ in Benedikt Randhartinger und seine Zeit, (Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 2004): 97113.

74 For a detailed discussion of this subject see Philopoulos, J., Eisagoge sten Hellenike Polyphonike Ekklesiastike Musike [Introduction to Greek Polyphonic Church Music] (Athens: Nefele, 1990) and, Rossikes Epidraseis sten Hellenike Polyphonike Ekklesiatike Musike [Russian Influences on Greek Polyphonic Church Music] (Athens: Nefele, 1993).

75 M. Barbaki, ‘Hoi protoi musikoi’, 143.

76 Ibid., 146.

77 Ibid., 148.

78 Ibid., 147.

79 Ibid.

80 Ibid., 148.

81 Ibid., 25–8.

82 Ibid., 28.

83 Synadinos, T., Historia tes Neohellenikes Musikes 1824–1919 [History of Neohellenic Music 1824–1919], I (Athens: Typos, 1919): 146147.

84 The programme is given in ibid., 148–9.

85 One of these was the flautist Euresthenes Gizas (from the Chatzecosta orphanage) who was engaged by the Vienna Philharmonic, having received a scholarship that enabled him to continue his studies in Vienna. See ibid., 158, 160.

86 Remains of notated music discovered in that period include Seikilos’ epitaph (1883), a fragment from a stasimon of Euripides’ Orestes (1892), two hymns to Apollo (1893). Those pieces, especially the hymns to Apollo, became very popular in Europe and in Greece.

87 The Olympiads were events combining athletic and artistic competitions with general commercial exhibitions, on the model of the world exhibitions (organized in Paris since 1855). They had started in 1859 but were really felt in the city in 1870. See Romanou, K., Barbaki, M., Mousoulides, P., He Hellenike Musike stous Olympiakous Agones kæ tis Olympiades (1858–96) [Greek Music in the Olympic Games and the Olympiads (1858–96)] (Athens: Genike Grammateia Olympiakon Agonon – Hypourgeio Politismou, Cultura, 2004).

88 The first performance of the entire work was given on 22 October 1888 to celebrate the twenty-fifth year of King George's reign. See Xepapadakou, A., ‘Synaulies, theatro, melodrama stous gamous tou Constantinou I’ [‘Concerts, Theatre, Opera for the Weddings of Constantinos I’], Parnassos 43 (Athens, 2001): 375–402 (pp. 392–93).

89 M. Barbaki, ‘Hoi protoi musikoi’, 39.

90 Drosines, G., Georgios Nazos kæ to Odeion Athenon [Georgios Nazos and the Conservatory of Athens] (Athens: Hestia, 1938): 88.

91 Ibid., 90–91.

92 Ibid., 92–93.

93 Ibid., 102–3.

94 Extracts of which are given in ibid., 108–9.

95 Some early engagements (that have been identified) include Johannes Miersch in 1894 for choral and orchestral conducting. He was probably a relative of Paul Miersch, whose concert was performed on 11 January 1898; the Indianische Rhapsodie op. 19 by Paul Miersch was performed in the conservatory. Also, in an announcement published in the New York Times (Wednesday 13 January 1901, 18), under the title ‘The Manuscript Society’, it is said that ‘an elegy for strings by Paul Miersch will be performed [in New York] if the manuscript arrives in time from Athens’. In 1897, Nazos invited the 23-year-old German cellist, gambist and conductor Christian Döbereiner (who would distinguish himself later as an important early exponent of historic performance). He taught violoncello and chamber music for just one year at the conservatory; he also conducted the chorus.

96 It is published in its entirety in Drosines, Georgios Nazos, 110–13.

97 This was Eleutherios Venizelos, who founded a state music conservatory in Thessalonica in 1914 to celebrate the city's liberation from the Ottomans. Both the State Orchestra and the State Lyric Stage of Athens were founded during the German occupation in 1942 and 1944, respectively. Music departments were established in universities after 1981.

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