Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice for solo French horn and chamber orchestra was written by Christos Hatzis in 2004. Commissioned by the CBC for the CBC Radio Orchestra and french horn player James Sommerville, it had its world premiere on December 15 of that year in Yellowknife, NWT, with Mario Bernardi conducting. Sommerville gave the US premiere at the School of Music, University of Alamaba (2005), and the European premiere took place in 2009 with horn player Constantine Siskos, and the Athens (Greece) Chamber orchestra.

About 30 minutes in length, the work has three movements: I The Darkest Hour, II Simulacrum, III The Prophet of Light. Hatzis explains that the title refers to the spiritual meaning of the "longest night" and that the work "...is a meditation on our own times ... the twentieth century has been one of the darkest moments of human history...and the three movements explore musical metaphors of darkness and light, despair and hope."

Among other Canadian composers who have composed works on the winter solstice are Rodney Sharman (2003), Thomas Schudel (2001), Derek Charke (Past Winters Solstice, 1997), and Dennis Farrell (A Northern Winter Solstice, 1986).