Sirtaki - ’Memories of Cyprus’ (Clarinet Trio & Piano)

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
4 minutes
World music
Trio (Clarinet in Bb)

This September, Dad and I decided to take our holiday in Cyprus, after thoroughly enjoying last year’s in Malta. Both venues are good for us in the South West, as we can fly from Exeter, and avoid all the hassle of Heathrow or Gatwick.

We had a lovely hotel in Paphos, the Pioneer Beach Hotel, where everything was just excellent. We had lovely weather every day, wall-to-wall sunshine, and with our dear little hire-car, we managed to see a great deal of this lovely island.

The hotel food was outstanding, and on a couple of evenings each week, we ate outside overlooking the beach, after which there was entertainment. Needless to say, one evening it was traditional Greek/Cypriot dancing, with the inevitable Zorba’s Dance!

I still find this type of dance exciting, so once back home, set about writing my own dance - in traditional Sirt�ki style - i.e. a slow section followed by a quick section which gradually accelerates to an exhilarating finish - which will hopefully remind us (and listeners!) of our lovely time on the island.

I chose to write it originally for piano duet, as this allows greater opportunity for counter-melodies etc, but I can clearly ’hear’ clarinets playing, which is not surprising, considering their use in the music of the Mediterranean and the Balkans, so have also producied this version for Clarinet Trio and Piano. Whilst it ends in the same key as Zorba, I have tried not to copy anything from the original except, perhaps the style, adding in some modal harmonies to ’spice things up’!

P.S. The dedication is to Mirka, one of the lovely waitresses in the restaurant. Most of them were from various European countries, and Mirka was from Slovakia. I believe she is leaving the hotel in November 2008 to work elsewhere in Europe, with her partner.

P.P.S. I don’t get any commission, of course, but if you’re looking for a great hotel in Paphos (adults only, I’m afraid), then you’d fine the Pioneer Beach Hotel hard to beat!

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