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Greek Classics - Kalomiris: Triptych, Symphony No 3, Etc


Release Date: 05/29/2007 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557970   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Manolis Kalomiris
Performer:  Nikitas Tsakiroglou
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens State Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



KALOMIRIS (arr. Fidetzis) Triptych for Orchestra. Greek Dances. Symphony No. 3, “Palamiki.” 1 The Destruction of Psará 1 Byron Fidetzis, cond; Nikitas Tsakiroglou (narr); 1 Athens St O NAXOS 8.557970 (63: 15)


Kicking off a series of Greek Classics from Naxos comes Read more this issue of orchestral music by Manolis Kalomiris (1883–1962). Kalomiris was a thoroughgoing nationalist: musically, socially, and politically. His earlier symphonies have the subtitles “Symphony of Manliness” (No. 1) and “Symphony of the Good and Innocent People” (No. 2), while the Third, recorded above, is a tribute to the Greek nationalist poet Costis Palamas. Sections of a narrative poem by Palamas are recited during the course of the symphony: the extracts concern gypsies and, at one point, the possibly duplicitous charms of a particular gypsy girl.


Similarly, the symphonic Triptych , designated “in memory of a hero,” is dedicated to Eleftherios Venizelos, a statesman who became Prime Minister of Crete and later of Greece. The main central movement of the Triptych consists of a long, noble, and tragic funeral march with a lyrical middle section. (It even utilizes the same rhythmic figure as Chopin’s ubiquitous funeral march.) One of Venizelos’s achievements was to wrest Greek land back from the Turks after the First World War, so it is perhaps ironic that Kalomiris’s melodic lines are filled with “Turkish” turns of phrase, notably in the Greek Dances . These catchy motifs are, no doubt, authentic; certainly they are piquant.


Kalomiris had public statements to make; the richly orchestrated, epic film-score heft of his music produces a visceral impact. The first movement of the Triptych is excitingly heroic, whereas the three Greek Dances are lighter in intent. Here Kalomiris gives national folk-dance melodies the same flashy treatment that Malcolm Arnold provided in his various sets of British dances. The result is similarly bracing, although Nikos Skalkottas’s set of 36 Greek Dances is more subtly scored.


As for the unfinished fragment, The Destruction of Psará , and the Symphony, I must admit I could do without the encumbrance of spoken narration. The latter work in particular would easily stand alone. The place for Palamas’s gypsy poems is in the program notes, as far as I am concerned.


Forthright musical utterances such as these require a full-blooded, gutsy performance, and that’s exactly what they get from the Athens State Orchestra, in punchy, up-front sound. According to the CD cover, all this music was “revised by Byron Fidetzis” (the excellent conductor), but neither the nature or extent of his revisions is discussed.


A hearty recommendation, then, pace the spoken sections which, for once, cannot be programmed out. Including them was the composer’s express intention; the reasons unambiguously political (a word of Greek derivation, after all).


FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 3 in D minor "Palamiki" by Manolis Kalomiris
Performer:  Nikitas Tsakiroglou (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens State Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; Greece 
Venue:  Athens Concert Hall, Athens, Greece 
Length: 30 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: Greek 
Notes: Arranger: Byron Fidetzis.
Athens Concert Hall, Athens, Greece (06/29/2005 - 07/02/2005) 
2.
Triptych for Orchestra by Manolis Kalomiris
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens State Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Athens Concert Hall, Athens, Greece 
Length: 22 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: Greek 
Notes: Arranger: Byron Fidetzis.
Athens Concert Hall, Athens, Greece (06/29/2005 - 07/02/2005)
Composition written: 1937 - 1940. 
3.
Greek Dances (3) by Manolis Kalomiris
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens State Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934 
Venue:  Athens Concert Hall, Athens, Greece 
Length: 8 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: Greek 
Notes: Arranger: Byron Fidetzis.
Athens Concert Hall, Athens, Greece (06/29/2005 - 07/02/2005) 
4.
The Destruction of Psará by Manolis Kalomiris
Performer:  Nikitas Tsakiroglou (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens State Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949 
Venue:  Athens Concert Hall, Athens, Greece 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: Greek 
Notes: Arranger: Byron Fidetzis.
Athens Concert Hall, Athens, Greece (06/29/2005 - 07/02/2005) 

Sound Samples

Triptych: I. Prelude: Moderato appassionato
Triptych: II. Interlude: In tempo di una marcia funebre
Triptych: III. Postlude: Finale
Symphony No. 3, "Palamiki" (Palamas): I. Moderato
Symphony No. 3, "Palamiki" (Palamas): II. Scherzo
Symphony No. 3, "Palamiki" (Palamas): III. Love: Lento, ma non troppo
Symphony No. 3, "Palamiki" (Palamas): IV. Finale
3 Greek Dances: No. 1. Ballos: Moderato
3 Greek Dances: No. 2. Idyllic Dance: Moderato
3 Greek Dances: No. 3. Dance from Tsakonia, "Tsakonikos"
I katastrofi ton Psaron: (The Destruction of Psara)

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