Panos Vlagopoulos

Jani Christou’s Second Symphony: Monument, Crossroads, Path

Jani Christou’s career began in 1948 in the Bergish atonality of the Phoenix Music and ended abruptly in 1970 while he was experimenting with music–theatrical rituals that use graphic notation. (In the meantime, from 1960 to c.1965, he had been experimenting with self-styled ‘meta-serialism’).  In comparison with the post-war avant-garde Christou was another ‘Spätentwickler’ working at the periphery, though arguably an obsessively idiosyncratic one. During his twenty-odd years of compositional activity he was seemingly coming more and more in sync with the international avant-garde, at the same time adhering to a personal langue (as opposed to avangardistic paroles) from his first to last work.
On the basis of an analytical commentary to the manuscript sources, this paper proposes a new dating of the Second Symphony, and tries to bring into relief concrete techniques for assessing the overarching unity of his complete oeuvre, particularly in the context of Christou’s multifaceted and solid philosophical background: above all Jung, Wittgenstein, and Nietzsche. The Second Symphony marks the end of his first period, and stands out as a monument to his recently deceased brother and personal guru Evis, a promising analyst at the Jung Institute in Zurich; as a crossroads of atonal approaches and the serial techniques fully applied in his next work (the Patterns and Permutations of 1960); and finally, as the musical imprint of a personal path on the way to his Jungian individuation.