18 Nov 2022

PSATHAS: Seikilos

From Music Alive, 8:00 pm on 18 November 2022
Composer John Psathas

Composer John Psathas Photo: Gareth Watkins

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John Psathas’ Seikilos is a challenge to seize the day – life is short, and you should make the most of it!

Psathas dedicated the work to his Greek parents.

Seikilos refers to a Greek composer who lived during the first or second centuries BC. One of the few remnants of ancient Greek music is the song Seikilos engraved on his wife’s tombstone as her epitaph, singing out over the centuries as a reminder to us all.

While you’re alive, shine, man

Don’t be the least bit blue.

Life’s for a little span;

Time demands its due.

John Psathas had this life lesson in mind while writing the music for Seikilos. Being a NZ Greek composer has led to a lifelong fascination with what he describes as “the endless motion of restless people throughout history”. And this fascination is echoed in the energy of his piece Seikilos, which focuses on percussion and rhythm.

Recorded 18 November 2022, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert

Producer: David McCaw

Engineer: Darryl Stack