The Musical voyages of Marco Polo

Performance

“En Chordais” and “Constantinople” ensembles

“Half way between learned and popular music, east and west, the Voyage [of Marco Polo] is a superb creation, a magical narrative in which a sense of marvel and the discovery of the other have the upper hand”.
(Liberation – France).

“The concert Marco Polo’s Travels to China is a mosaic of musical traditions just as the Silk Road once blended the cultures of East and West. Guests artists from Tajikistan, Turkey, Israel, Iran and Italy and the En Chordais ensemble from Greece create an enchanting experience for all.”
(English Street – Hong Kong).

Il en résulte une puissante aventure sonore sur la route de la soie jusqu’à la Chine, alors que tous les sentiments, de l’amour à la quête de l’identité renouvelée et à la spiritualité profonde, sont transmis avec plusieurs invités, leurs voix et instruments.
(Le Devoire – Canada).

“La production, l’interprétation, le groove et la variété des timbres, tout y est superbe. … Le paysage sonore est d’une richesse exceptionnelle et les 14 musiciens réunis ici l’évoquent avec une virtuosité de tous les instants. … Ravissement garanti.“
(Voire – Canada).

“Styles, timbres, temperaments and textures of the vocalists couldn’t be more wide-ranging, various and interesting. … There is a whole world of listening here, a generously packaged feast for the ear and the mind. Five Stars.”
(OpusOneReview – Canada).

“A virtuoso oud player, artistic director and founder member of “En Chordais” cultural organization and its music ensemble, and a doctor of Byzantine musicology, the ever impressive Kyriakos Kalaitzidis has now gathered together a group of devoted collaborators in order to tell the musical tale of one of the defining periods of human history.”
(World Village – Harmonia Mundi official website)

Realisations
The performance “The Musical voyages of Marco Polo” was commissioned by the Silk Road Art Music Festival of Hong Kong (organized by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong) and opened on 31st October 2009 at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall.

– Silk Road Art Music Festival of Hong Kong, October 2009
– Thessaloniki Music Hall, February 2010
– Beiteddine Festival, Beirut, June 2013
– Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, December 2013
– Trinity St. Paul’s Center, Toronto, February 2014
– Palais Montcalm, Quebec, February 2014
– Maison Symphonique, Montreal, February 2014
– Salle Pleyel, Paris, June 2014
– Berlin Philharmonic Hall, April 2015
– Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, April 2015
– Malta International Arts Festival, July 2015
– Festival de Carthage, Tunis, August 2015
– Festival d’Île-de-France, September 2015
– Almaty Festival (Kazakstan), August 2016
– Stimmen Festival, Lorrach, July 2017
– G. Enescu Festival, Bucharest, September 2017
– Sori Festival (Korea), September 2017
– Bozar, Brussels, March 2018

Line up
Lingling Yu (China): pipa
Marco Rosa Salva (Italy): recorder
Amartuvshin Baasandorj (Mongolia): vocals
Kiya Tabassian (Iran): setar
Ziya Tabassian (Iran): tombak, daff
Kyriakos Petras: violin
Kyriakos Kalaitizidis: oud, vocals
Drosos Koutsokostas: vocals
Petros Papageorgiou: toumpeleki, defi, bendir
Alkis Zopoglou: qanun
Pierre-Yves Martel: viola da gamba

Artistic direction: Kyriakos Kalaitzidis with the cooperation of Kiya Tabassian
Projection: Nikos Terpsiadis
Texts: Vasiliki Nevrokopli
Sound supervision: Leonidas Palaskas

The two music ensembles “En Chordais” and “Constantinople”, known as two of the most important ensembles of the musical traditions of the Mediterranean, join their forces and creativity to recreate a colorful musical journey in tribute to Marco Polo. Their ambition is to present a multidisciplinary performance for a 21st century audience, a unique tableau made up of historical musical and visual materials and new musical works.

The show is inspired by the medieval book Le Livre des Merveilles, most commonly known as The Travels of Marco Polo. His voyage is a unique experience of exploration and inner search. He passes through many different places and meets many different people and their cultures. This colorful mosaic fascinates him but most of all opens his inner self. In that way the travel becomes a valuable experience of self-awareness and self-definition.

In the course of the performance the itinerary of our hero unfolds musically with the music of the two ensembles En Chordais and Constantinople and their virtuoso guests. In this pioneering program, gravures, images of landscapes, and historical manuscripts in a variety of languages are combined with original compositions by the Kalaitzidis.

During the program, a background projection composed of images from historical maps, historical writings and calligraphies in different languages of the Silk Road creates an attractive and complementary view to the music and text performed on stage. From the heart of Europe to the Far East, the performance of The Musical voyages of Marco Polo traces an important part of our universal musical civilization. Through our familiarization with the music, distant lands appear as neighboring lands and unknown cultures become friendly cultures, while the voyage becomes an initiation into the hidden beauty of the world.

“The Musical Voyages of Marco Polo” is available on CD distributed by World Village – Harmonia Mundi and has been awarded the “Prix Academie Charles Cros” 2014.

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