Tamara Konstantin

album released 8th March 2019, by Naxos Buy now

"if you like irresistibly romantic piano music, then this is for you."
Jamie MacDougall BBC Scotland -Classics Unwrapped

Reverie

Tamara Konstantin, an executive in an oil firm, was on holiday with her husband in Canada when they both attended an organ recital in the local cathedral. They enjoyed works by Bach and Saint-Saëns, but then heard a short contemporary piece which Konstantin thought so awful that she turned to her husband and said, jokingly, “I could do better than that!” He replied, “Well, go on then. Do it.” “I really was joking,” she says. “I”d never written a bar of music in my life. But his challenge unleashed something in me, so I decided to have a go. And then I couldn”t stop.”

The genie was out of the bottle, and the result is this delightful collection of short piano and chamber pieces, full of flowing melodies and unpretentious charm. “Some modern composers are more inclined to structural complexity rather than melody, which is fine, of course, but it”s not for me. I love melody, and that”s what I have to write. I simply want to compose melodies which give pleasure.” Many of the pieces are inspired by the beautiful countryside and coastline surrounding Konstantin”s home in Dorset. Others reflect a mood, or emotion.

Two are based on existing works by Bach and Beethoven. One piece, more dramatic and stormy in tone, is written in dark tribute to the horrors her Georgian family suffered under Stalin”s purges in the former Soviet Union. Konstantin”s music has now received glowing reviews on Classic FM, in Classical Music, The Lady, and elsewhere – and it has all flowed from the dam of creativity which burst open that day in Canada.

That”s the media-friendly, Cinderella-like version of events, but it does something of a disservice to Konstantin”s disciplined upbringing as a serious musician. For in truth, she was very far from starting her musical career from scratch when she began composing. She had learned the piano during her childhood in Georgia, attending a special music school for gifted children, and then went on to complete her studies at the Tbilisi Music Academy.

There she performed with the State Symphony Orchestra of Georgia, and gave many solo recitals. After graduation, she felt she had reached a crossroads in her musical life, and decided to try something else. “I knew music would always be a part of me, part of my existence, but I had to see what else I could do. So I stopped practising eight hours a day, and looked around for new opportunities.”

“Something else” was a career on Georgian TV. For three years, Konstantin worked on a daily programme reading the latest political news, and twice a month hosted in-depth interviews with local celebrities. She worked regularly on radio too. She thoroughly enjoyed it, but became increasingly aware of some of the limitations of her situation in late-Soviet era Georgia. “Our equipment was so old that we didn”t dare do many live programmes because we were afraid it would all fall apart on air. At one time, a Japanese visitor came to see our studios, and he said to me, “Madam, you have a wonderful museum here.” It makes me laugh now.”

Seeking a new challenge, she moved to England in 1990. Already having fluent English, she found a job with an oil company, and reinvented herself once again. She stayed in the oil industry for 23 years, helping companies negotiate their strategies in the former Soviet Union and Central Asia, and eventually rose to become vice president of business development. “In those 23 years I feel I learned more about oil than any geologist or geophysicist,” she says fondly.

The work involved long hours and lots of travel, but music was still always in the background. She still played for her own pleasure, and performed many times for charity events. It was at this point in her life that Konstantin attended the fateful recital in Canada, and rediscovered her compositional creativity. “I still can”t quite believe it,” she says.

“But I feel inspired all the time: I simply have to compose.” A great part of her inspiration stems from her deep love for her adopted country – and more particularly, for her home county of Dorset. “I love this country, and I”m very proud to be British,” she says. “Britain gave me the opportunity to achieve my dreams and goals. In the former Soviet Union, you had to know someone to get ahead.

Here you are given a chance on your own merits. People sometimes take that for granted – they don”t realise how extraordinary that is.” Konstantin – who calls herself “a miniaturist” – has created a style which, with its gentle melodiousness and invocation of an elegiac melancholy peculiar to English pastoral music, pays homage to her love for Britain. Several of the pieces are part of a collection she calls Dorset Sketches.

The first of them is Poundbury, composed to celebrate the success of a town created by Prince Charles in the 1990s as a reaction against current trends in urban planning. “People call it the “Marmite town” – you either love it, or hate it,” says Konstantin. “I love it. To me it revisits history with a modern twist.” Other items from Dorset Sketches include Chapelhay Steps, Chesil Beach, Greenhill,

Purbeck and Abbotsbury Gardens. “Chapelhay is such a beautiful place – and I feel a strong connection to it, because my husband was baptised in the local church. I feel an even stronger connection to Greenhill, because that is where I now live. Chesil Beach is part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a breath-taking site: if I were a painter, I”d love to sketch it, but I”ve tried to capture the beauty in music. Purbeck and Abbotsbury Gardens are also famously beautiful sites in Dorset, and I wanted to evoke the emotions they inspire in me.” With its tranquil beginning, livelier middle section, and sleepy conclusion, 24 Hours is structured around the activities of an average day from waking to bedtime. But there is another reason behind the name too. “I had sketches of various melodies lying around, but had not yet pulled them together. Then, just 24 hours before the recording session, I realised I could make them into a piece. It was nerve-wracking to record.” Moonlight and Rêverie are both based on pre-existing works, in the tradition of Gounod”s Ave Maria; the former on Beethoven”s
“Moonlight” Sonata, and the latter (like Gounod”s piece) on Prelude in C major, BWV 846 from Book 1 of Bach”s The Well-Tempered Clavier.

“At first I wanted to write a vocalise for soprano over the “Moonlight” Sonata, but I adore the lyrical qualities of the cello too, so decided to compose it for that instrument. And I was so lucky that such a wonderful musician as Jiaxin Lloyd Webber agreed to play it. With the other piece, which I”ve written for a trio, I felt that if someone else had been able to adapt Bach”s music, then I would like to try too – and I found it fascinating to discover how much one can bring to it without altering a note of the original.” Jiaxin”s talent also lies behind the Cello Sonata. “I was inspired by her extraordinary musicianship, her ability, and her passion, and so wrote this Sonata for her. It was wonderful to work with her on it.” Works such as Nocturne Regrets, Love Ballad, Recollections and Twilight express universal emotions, and familiar moods. “We all have something to regret, and we all fall in love,” says Konstantin. “With Twilight, I wanted to recapture a vision of the sun coming down and dying away: the music goes down at the end, like the sinking of the sun.” Of the two piano sonatas presented here, Piano Sonata No. 4 is lighter in mood and more in keeping with the style of lyrical Romanticism on the rest of the album.

Piano Sonata No. 3, however, is more powerful and emotional, and is dedicated to the suffering experienced by Konstantin”s family under Stalin. “My grandfather was a political prisoner, and members of my family were exiled to Siberia. Through my childhood, I felt the pain of their experiences, and even then, there was still lots of fear. I really poured my anger into this work, and I dedicate it to their suffering.” Konstantin still feels she has much more to give. “I wish I”d known earlier that I can do this. It”s so close to my heart. I feel I have a different life now, a different mission. And I love it.”

Warwick Thompson

Inflections is a musical journey through the seasons, which I hope you will enjoy travelling through with me. It is a personal journey, reflecting my inner spirit of optimism with a twist of inspiration. The style of music is motivated by the ornate and heavily ornamented baroque period; Chopin”s romanticism, Rachmaninoff”s strength and of course Beethoven”s power. Every person listening to the music will feel something different be it joy, peace, excitement or even sadness. The album is called Inflections because the same music or words can mean different things depending on how they are played or said – this is Inflection. Hopefully you will enjoy the album and get as much pleasure out of it as I do. It starts with my favourite season, Spring. The interweaving of springtime themes such as re-birth, rejuvenation and regrowth express the vitality and change associated with spring. This is followed by a light piece entitled Childhood Memories, a carefree playful romp with a twist of naughtiness and sense of fun. It is reminiscent of childhood games.

In a change of pace Nocturne Romantica is a sensual piece; I was inspired by themes of twentieth century romanticism. The deep emotions running through it were inspired by the support of my husband Derek, to whom I have dedicated this nocturne.

During the writing of Melancholy I was considering the turmoil of feelings and emotions that are experienced during a state of melancholy. Pensive sadness permeates the musical piece.

Sonata Alke and Sonata Bia are part of a collection which I have written, inspired by the stories and characters of Greek mythology. Alke was the female personification of battle strength, prowess and courage; Bia was one of the winged enforcers who stood by Zeus; she was the goddess of force, might and power. Both sonatas are determined by strength, energy, drama and power, they follow the traditional format of three movements, Alke, (andante, andante, allegro), Bia (allegro, andante, allegro).

Revelation is piece following an inner journey, a journey that is informed by an awareness of hidden knowledge, and progresses into a new revelation concerning an epiphany.
Ladybird lullaby is a gentle soothing piece of music, full of night time tones and nuances, the ladybird dances through it, with flickering wings in the setting sun of dusk, slowly sinking into sleep. Dreams follow sleep, and this small piece is a musical fantasy.

When I considered Summer I envisaged a hot drowsy summer day, the air heavy and languorous, flowing backwards and forwards. A sensual bower of relaxation. And so through from Reflections, a meditative look backwards, to Autumn, a stirring breeze and falling leaves, raindrops gently falling. Autumn is one last glorious amber stand. The raindrops falling in the middle of the piece are a premonition of winter coming.

The source of inspiration and creativity are a constant source of wonder, and when the two come together the artistic result is a musical expression of joy and appreciation of the muse.

Winter brings forces of nature that are both wild and awesome, rain and hail batter, while cold winds rush down upon us, snow falls subduing nature, icy cold yet dramatically beautiful. I have recreated these tempestuous events that surprise us, with their suddenness, and ability to completely overwhelm us with their power and strength. My musical interpretation is attempting to delight, and to inspire us to appreciate the season. And so to the end of year, to repeat the whole cycle.

  • 1SPRING a3″05
  • 2CHILDHOOD MEMORIES a3″08
  • 3NOCTURNE ROMANTICA3″08
  • 4MELANCHOLY b2″41
    SONATA NO.1 “ALKE” a
  • 5i Andante2″49
  • 6ii Andante2″48
  • 7iii Allegro2″33
  • 8REVELATION b3″35
  • 9LADYBIRD LULLABY b2″45
  • 10DREAMS b2″02
    SONATA NO.2 “BIA” a
  • 11i Allegro4″01
  • 12ii Andante2″34
  • 13iii Allegro3″48
  • 14SUMMER b2″20
  • 15REFLECTIONS b2″36
  • 16AUTUMN b2″07
  • 17INSPIRATION b2″08
  • 18WINTER b2″1349″03

DUNCAN HONEYBOURNE piano a TAMARA KONSTANTIN piano b

tamara-konstantin

Tamara Konstantin

Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, to non musical parents, as a young child Tamara showed an interest in every piano she passed . Her parents bought her one and she began to naturally pick up tunes until receiving professional piano instruction. She went on to attend a special music school for gifted children and graduated from the The Tbilisi Music Academy. During her early career she performed several solo recitals and concerts accompanied by The Georgian State Symphony Orchestra.

Tamara’s career took a different turn after she completed her degree at Tbilisi University when she was offered a job as a first female Political Commentator on Georgian Television. She married an Englishman who brought her to England in 1990 where she embarked upon a career in Oil Industry for 23 years, becoming Vice President of an oil and gas exploration company .

Tamara now focuses on her music and lives in Dorset where she has been inspired by the stunning local coastline. She realised that with her classical training and natural talent she could transpose the feelings inspired by the local scenery into music. Following an intense period of creativity, Tamara released her debut album “Inflections ” in 2016.

“Inflections” was released by the Stone Record label in 2016 and was nominated “CD of the week” by Lady Magazine and compositions from the album have been played on Classic FM, BBC Scotland (Classics Unwrapped) and BBC Solent. Tamara was awarded First Prize by The Georgian Composer”s Guild for her work and has performed selections from it at several concerts including one organised by the Duchy of Cornwall. Several TV features also followed including CMUSIC TV and Georgian State Television.

Tamara”s second CD, “Reverie”, was released in March 2019 by the Naxos Record Label.

As Tamara says: “I love to reflect on my personal experiences and transpose those encounters into music. It then gives me even more satisfaction to see the pleasure my music gives to others and that inspires me to be even more creative.”

Tamara is now working on her third album which she plans to record in April 2019.

inflections_012

Tamara Konstantin - Reverie

Tamara Konstantin - Reverie

Tamara Konstantin - Reverie

inflections_0070

inflections_013

Close-Up: C Music TV talks exclusively with pianist/composer Tamara Konstantin

classicfmlogo

From ClassicFM, 7th October 2016
a review of Inflections

Tamara Konstantin trained as a pianist in Georgia, before later building successful careers as a TV presenter, and a senior executive in an oil company. Now a long-time resident of the UK, living with her successful businessman husband in Dorset, Tamara some years ago returned to music, re-honing her pianistic technique, and also composing. The fruits of her labours first appeared on a privately circulated CD, recommended to me by a Classic FM colleague, and from which I played one item, Spring , from her piano Four Seasons. This went down very well and attracted a positive postbag, so I played it again, with the same result.

I am therefore glad that this album is now being made more widely available through Stone Records. Anyone who buys it, or downloads it, is in for a treat. Tamara is inspired by the great piano masters of the 19th century, to produce melodic music, well laid out for the piano, that is not in the least derivative, and has great charm. These days, thankfully, with atonalism seen as a blind alley, we can celebrate the return of well crafted melodies which is what you get here. Tamara shares pianistic duties with the Dorset pianist Duncan Honeybourne, a most accomplished pianist, who has himself recorded some interesting CDs, well worth digging out, of English romantic piano music on EM Records.

– David Mellor, ClassicFM

logo

winding-road

Recording news from the studio, by Philip Sommerich click to read PDF

lady
“Inflections” notimated CD of the week, in Lady Magazine. Click here to read the review


Produced, engineered and edited by Alan Crumpler. Recorded 23rd June 2014 at Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, UK.

Steinway technician: Philip Kennedy.

Publisher: www.tamarakonstantin.com

Photographs of Tamara Konstantin @ 2014 Will Paltridge.

Inflections is a musical journey through the seasons, which I hope you will enjoy travelling through with me. It is a personal journey, reflecting my inner spirit of optimism with a twist of inspiration. The style of music is motivated by the ornate and heavily ornamented baroque period; Chopin”s romanticism, Rachmaninoff”s strength and of course Beethoven”s power. Every person listening to the music will feel something different be it joy, peace, excitement or even sadness. The album is called Inflections because the same music or words can mean different things depending on how they are played or said – this is Inflection. Hopefully you will enjoy the album and get as much pleasure out of it as I do. It starts with my favourite season, Spring. The interweaving of springtime themes such as re-birth, rejuvenation and regrowth express the vitality and change associated with spring. This is followed by a light piece entitled Childhood Memories, a carefree playful romp with a twist of naughtiness and sense of fun. It is reminiscent of childhood games.

In a change of pace Nocturne Romantica is a sensual piece; I was inspired by themes of twentieth century romanticism. The deep emotions running through it were inspired by the support of my husband Derek, to whom I have dedicated this nocturne.

During the writing of Melancholy I was considering the turmoil of feelings and emotions that are experienced during a state of melancholy. Pensive sadness permeates the musical piece.

Sonata Alke and Sonata Bia are part of a collection which I have written, inspired by the stories and characters of Greek mythology. Alke was the female personification of battle strength, prowess and courage; Bia was one of the winged enforcers who stood by Zeus; she was the goddess of force, might and power. Both sonatas are determined by strength, energy, drama and power, they follow the traditional format of three movements, Alke, (andante, andante, allegro), Bia (allegro, andante, allegro).

Revelation is piece following an inner journey, a journey that is informed by an awareness of hidden knowledge, and progresses into a new revelation concerning an epiphany.
Ladybird lullaby is a gentle soothing piece of music, full of night time tones and nuances, the ladybird dances through it, with flickering wings in the setting sun of dusk, slowly sinking into sleep. Dreams follow sleep, and this small piece is a musical fantasy.

When I considered Summer I envisaged a hot drowsy summer day, the air heavy and languorous, flowing backwards and forwards. A sensual bower of relaxation. And so through from Reflections, a meditative look backwards, to Autumn, a stirring breeze and falling leaves, raindrops gently falling. Autumn is one last glorious amber stand. The raindrops falling in the middle of the piece are a premonition of winter coming.

The source of inspiration and creativity are a constant source of wonder, and when the two come together the artistic result is a musical expression of joy and appreciation of the muse.

Winter brings forces of nature that are both wild and awesome, rain and hail batter, while cold winds rush down upon us, snow falls subduing nature, icy cold yet dramatically beautiful. I have recreated these tempestuous events that surprise us, with their suddenness, and ability to completely overwhelm us with their power and strength. My musical interpretation is attempting to delight, and to inspire us to appreciate the season. And so to the end of year, to repeat the whole cycle.

  • 1SPRING a3″05
  • 2CHILDHOOD MEMORIES a3″08
  • 3NOCTURNE ROMANTICA3″08
  • 4MELANCHOLY b2″41
    SONATA NO.1 “ALKE” a
  • 5i Andante2″49
  • 6ii Andante2″48
  • 7iii Allegro2″33
  • 8REVELATION b3″35
  • 9LADYBIRD LULLABY b2″45
  • 10DREAMS b2″02
    SONATA NO.2 “BIA” a
  • 11i Allegro4″01
  • 12ii Andante2″34
  • 13iii Allegro3″48
  • 14SUMMER b2″20
  • 15REFLECTIONS b2″36
  • 16AUTUMN b2″07
  • 17INSPIRATION b2″08
  • 18WINTER b2″1349″03

DUNCAN HONEYBOURNE piano a TAMARA KONSTANTIN piano b

tamara-konstantin

Tamara Konstantin

Tamara was born in Georgia, she started playing the piano at a very early age, and was encouraged by her family to attend the prestigious Special Music School for gifted children, her intense study during childhood included her family hiring a piano for her whenever when they went on holiday! She went on to graduate from the Tbilisi Music Academy, performing solo recitals, including accompanying the Georgian State Symphony Orchestra. After 15 years of study she followed a different career path and eventually came to the UK in 1989. Tamara now lives in Dorset with her husband, and has been inspired by the stunning coastline and nature of her surroundings to compose the pieces to be found on “Inflections” her debut cd. She was attending an organ recital in Canada, when she realized that with her classical training and natural ability she could transpose some of these inspirational themes into music. Then followed an intense time of creativity and discovery, which has led to these romantic and passionate compositions. As Tamara says:
“To be able to share such personal expression through my own music and see the pleasure it brings to others is both a joy and a wonderful source of inspiration.”

inflections_012

inflections_0070

inflections_013

inflections_013

Contact, Media enquires and Manuscripts

If you would like to purchase a manuscript of any music featured on this website, please contact Tamara at the email address provided below.

Alternatively, please call:

03300552541

Booklet notes 2016 Tamara Konstantin.
Graphic design: Colour Blind Design. Printed in the E.U.

music@tamarakonstantin.com