Diferencias by Victor Kioulaphides performed by Alex Timmerman on Alto Mandolin





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Published on Mar 1, 2009

Diferencias by Victor Kioulaphides performed by Alex Timmerman on the Mandoliola, the Alto Mandolin of the Mandolin family.

Victor Kioulaphides wrote this composititon, a set of variations based on the traditional Sephardic poem called ´Morenika´, in 2002. Up to the unfortunate events of WWII a large Sephardic community lived in Thessaloniki, Greece, and it is there that this beautiful classic song originates.
The original text of the poem is in Ladino, a colourful blend of 14th/15th-century Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, and (post-exile) Greek, Arabic, Turkish and tells the following:

Morenika a mi me llaman;
Yo blanka nasí.

El sol del enverano
Me hizo a mi ansi.

Morenika, graciosika sos.
Yo moreno, tu morena,
Mavra matia.


A free translation of the text is given by the composer, himself:

A young woman is making a flirtatious mock-apology for her olive/tan complexion,
saying that she doesn't quite understand why people call her "morenika"
("little Moorish one", i.e. dark-compexioned),
when in fact she was born fair.
She offers as a logical (but probably untrue?) explanation that the summer sun made her so tan.
Her suitor/lover replies most diplomatically that she is both
dark-complexioned AND graceful.
And, after all, if she is, so is he, dark-skinned and dark-eyed.

About the inspiration used for his composition Victor Kioulaphides explains: my interpretation of the text is love-play, amorous repartée. The musical variations are ornamentation, embroidery, filigree; different veils, earrings, bracelets, same mysterious, charming young woman.


Victor Kioulaphides composed this work for Davka Dances, a dance group specializing in the performance of Sephardic music and dance, i.e. of the Judeo-Hispanic cultural heritage from the 15th century on. After the first performances by this group, Kioulaphides made a public offer of a free copy to any and all of his Mandolin Cafe Message Board friends. If you like this wonderful composition and if you are interested in Kioulaphidesmusic, you can download the pdf-files of the Díferencías as well as other compositions from his hand for mandolin solo for free, here: http://www.paperclipdesign.com/vk/

A list of more compositions for or with Mandolin by the same composer can be found at the Kioulaphides website: http://home.earthlink.net/~vkioulaphides

The photos shown at the end and beginning of this video were taken in the Concert hall of the Stedelijke Muziekschool in Groningen (Netherlands) on Saturday 19th of March (2005) after a concert by the well-known Mandolin Chamber Orchestra Het CONSORT, in which the premiere of Kioulaphides Concerto a pizzico took place.
The Mandoliola used here is an Orchestra model No. 1 made in 1908 by the famous Roman luthier Luigi Embergher (1856-1943). It is played with the long Roman plectrum special developed for the Roman instruments of the Mandolin family as developed by Giovanni Battista Maldura, Giovanni De Santis and Luigi Embergher. The Roman Mandoliola, also named Mandola Contralto and/or Alto Mandolin, has a swinging stringlength (mensura) of about 375 mm. and is tuned cc, gg, dd, aa. Within the Mandolin family it has the same function as the Viola (or Alto Violin) of the Violin family.

Zwolle, Netherlands, March 2009.

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