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Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros (Greek: Νικόλαος Χαλικιόπουλος Μάντζαρος or Italian: Niccoló Calichiopoulo Manzaro, 26 October 1795 - 12 April 1872) was a Greek composer born in Corfu and the major representative of the so called Ionian School of music (Επτανησιακή Σχολή). He was of mixed Greek and Italian noble descent, coming from one of the most important and wealthy families of the "Libro d'Oro" di Corfu and therefore he never considered himself a "professional composer".

Debut in Corfu

He was taught music in his native city by the brothers Stefano (pianoforte) and Gerolamo Pojago (violin), Stefano Moretti from Ancona (music theory) and cavalliere Barbati, possibly a Neapolitan (music theory and composition). Mantzaros presented his first compositions (three concert or substitute arias and the one-act azione comica Don Crepuscolo) in 1815 in the theatre of San Giacomo of Corfu. More works of this genre were to follow until 1827.

His relations with Italy

From 1819 onwards he was regularly visiting Italy (Venice, Bologna, Milan, Naples), where, among others, he met the veteran Neapolitan composer Niccolo Antonio Zingarelli. His compositions include incidental music, vocal works in Italian and demotic Greek, sacred music for the Catholic Rite (three masses (1819?, 1825, 1835?), a Te Deum (1830)) and the Orthodox Church (notably, a complete mass based on the septinsular polyphonic traditional chanting (1834)), band music, instrumental music (24 piano sinfonie, some of them also for orchestra) etc. Mantzaros also composed the music for the first concert aria in Greek in 1827, the Aria Greca. Mantzaros was also an important music theorist, contrapuntist and teacher. Since 1841 and until his death he was the Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu
The initial pages of an 1820 piano 'Sinfonia' by Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros (composer's autograph). It is exhibited in the Music Museum of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu

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Greek national anthem

His widely known composition was until recently the musical setting for the poem of Dionysios Solomos' Ýmnos eis tīn Eleutherían (Hymn to Liberty, 1829–1830), the first and second stanzas of which were adopted initially in 1864 as the Royal Anthem of Greece and on 28 June 1865 as the Greek national anthem. However, recent research has proved that Mantzaros had broader activities in composition, music theory and music aesthetics, which go beyond the established perception of him as the mere composer of the National Anthem.

Recordings

Solomos and Mantzaros

Mantzaros-Solomos: The Hymn to the Liberty (Lyra, CD0064, 1991)
Music of the Ionian School. N.Mantzaros, N.Lambelet, P.Carrer (Motivo, NM1049, 1996). The 'Nikolaos Mantzaros Chamber Music Ensemble' performing arrangements from piano Sinfonias by Mantzaros.
Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros (1795-1872): Early Works for voice and orchestra (1815-1827) (Ionian University / Music Department, IUP005, 2005)
Don Crepuscolo performed by Christophoros Stamboglis, George Petrou and Armonia Atenea (Athens Camerata) in the CD Georg Friedrich Haendel, Alessando Severo / Niccolo Manzaro, Don Crepuscolo (MDG, LC06768, 2011)
Niccolo Calichiopulo Manzaro - Fedele Fenaroli, Partimenti for String Instruments performed by Ionian String Quartet (Irida Classics 009, 2011)

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