Music's ability to animate a range of expressive nuances between the tangible and the intangible, and to play many different roles in spiritual life, are but two reasons why artists with mystical inclinations often choose it over other media. The composer George Tsontakis (born 1951 in Astoria, New York, of Cretan origins) writes music that frequently explores mystical themes both directly and more obliquely. The goal of this – the first major journal article on his work – is to touch upon important attributes of that language and its development by comparing two recent works, both of which have been released in première recordings in the last year. Violin Concerto No. 2 (2003) and Man of Sorrows (2005), written within a two-year period, both belong to the concerto genre. (Although it does not bear the word ‘concerto’ in its title, Man of Sorrows is a large-scale work for piano soloist and orchestra). Despite their remarkable differences, both works represent a recent ‘crystallization’ of Tsontakis's musical language, as shown in the outstanding impact that they have made in the international sphere, and in their ability to appeal to both cognoscenti and lay people alike.
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