A silhouette (in white) of Founder's Tower, on a background illustrating a musical theme. Royal Holloway, University of London

Kardamis, Konstantinos

The "Pre-Solomian" Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros and his Work

Ph.D. Ionian University, 2006

The scope of the present thesis is to investigate the life and works of Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros (1795-1872) between 1795 and 1835. The connection of the Corfiot composer with the Zakynthian poet Dionysios Solomos (especially through the setting of the Solomian Hymn to Liberty) resulted in total ignorance in regard to the life and the musical works of Mantzaros before 1828, the year in which Solomos moved to Corfu. Nevertheless, it can be shown that the musical activities of Mantzaros between 1795 and 1835 (either regarding his education or his original creative and pedagogic output) were not only important, multifarious, absolutely contemporary to the European trends and (especially for Neo-Hellenic developments) pioneering, but also that they prepared the common ground on which the creative perception of Mantzaros would assimilate the poetics of Solomos.

In view of this proof, the unilateral connection of the Corfiot composer with the Zakynthian poet is reassessed and the approach of their collaboration is put on new grounds. As a matter of fact, there is enough evidence proving that the fermentation of music practices dating before 1828 in the works of Mantzaros continued (either through further development of such elements or through their rejection) until the mid-1830s. During the latter period, the final orientation of Mantzaros towards idealism (already evident in 1826) and the quest of a middle ground between classicism and romanticism marked the beginning of the composer's maturity. In view of this approach the transitional years 1828-1835 are also investigated as part of the 'pre-Solomian' period.

Chapters 1 and 2 of the thesis constitute an introductory part, with an overview of the historical and musical environment of Corfu between 1795 and 1835, adding new evidence towards an understanding of the musical developments of the island. The first part (chapters 3.1-3.5) attempts an approach to the life and music of Mantzaros during the same period based on recent research. In the second part (chapters 4.1-4.6) an extensive commentary is presented regarding Mantzaros's musical works, their style and their connection to the musical output of Europe during a period in which Europe was experiencing the transition towards musical romanticism. Chapter 5 concludes the thesis by detecting the position of Mantzaros in a rapidly changing European musical environment. Appendixes include a catalogue of the works of the period and archival material related to the composer.

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