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Nikolaos Mantzaros

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  • Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros (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. 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". Recent research and performances have led to a re-evaluation of Mantzaros as a significant composer and music theorist.

    He was born in Corfu from a rich family and his father James Halikiopoulos Mantzaros was eminent jurist, while the brother of his grandfather George was the last great Protopapas and first archbishop of Corfu voted in modern times. Because of the noble and rich origin Mantzaros got hereditary the knighthood. He studied music in Corfu with his brothers Stefan (Keyboard) and Jerome (violin) Pogiagou, Stefano Moretti (theoretically) and probably the Neapolitan origin 'knight' Barbati (theory, composition). In his hometown he presented his first works as early as 1815. Since 1819 he continued his musical pursuits in Italy (which he visited occasionally), where associated especially with the environment of the Royal Conservatory of Naples and its director Niccolo Antonio Tsingkareli. 

    He settled permanently in Corfu in 1826 in order to deal with the musical education of his country, despite the efforts of Tsingkareli to convince him to stay in Naples. To achieve this, he gave free lessons and founded the Philharmonic Society of Corfu in 1840 which became a lifelong artistic director. Thanks to these educational actions of Mantzaros, many islanders were educated musically and created the first generation of Ionian composers, among them the Spyridon Xyndas, Paul Karrer and Francesco Domeniginis. Therefore Mantzaros considered the founder of the Ionian School.

    As a character he was forbearance, generous, polite and modest. Because of his work and social status, many Italian composers and Greek poets used to attend and to speak with him, he was also a close friend with Dionysios Solomos. He certainly did not consider himself a professional musician and described himself "amateur" (this is the reason why he was not accept money for his services). Unfortunately, the March 29, 1872, Mantzaros fell into a coma during a session and eventually died on April 12 of that year. 

    Important work considered the melody of the Hymn to Liberty of Dionysios Solomos, which in 1865 the first turn (1829) was established as the national anthem of Greece. Mantzaros actually had created 5 total set to music for the Hymn to Liberty, the first in 1829 for four-voice male choir and piano in 24 parts, the second in 1837, the third in 1839-'40, the 4th in 1844, more contrapuntal in compared with the first three and the fifth in 1861 that looks primarily to a march and the 6th. The newest research, however, has demonstrated the multifaceted activities of the Corfiot composer beyond the one-dimensional connection to the Solomonian 'Hymn'. Characteristically mention that he is the composer of one-act comic opera Don Crepuscolo, which is the first preserved opera of a Greek artist (1815). He has composed also the earliest known works in Greek language for voice and orchestra, the 'Aria Greca' (1827), the songs collection 16 Arie Greche (1830) which includes many poems set to music of Solomos (Xanthoula, Farmakomeni) and of the Thouria Rigas Ferraiou, the cycle of 6 songs with lyrics by poet George Kandianou Roma entitled "The pulses of my heart", many Italian poems set to music and his own lyrics. He is also the composer of the first known Greek works for string quartet (Partimenti, works of the Italian Fedele Fenaroli which Mantzaros worked, about 1850), the first Greek piano repertoire, the first Greek work in fugue form, the first-mentioned Greek Agreement (lost ) and many other agreements as well as the author of the first music analysis essay (Rapporto, 1851) and the first music educational textbooks in Greece.


    project corfu video Ο εθνικός ύμνος της Ελλάδας -- Στοίχοι και Μελωδία
    project corfu video N.H.Mantzaros - Partimenti for String Quartet - Book V, Fugue No.1 - Fugue (1851)
    project corfu video Συμφωνια αρ. 3 - ΜΑΝΤΖΑΡΟΣ
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