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Greek Classics - Markopoulos: Shapes In Motion, Concerto-rhapsody / Grauwels, Papatheodorou


Release Date: 08/25/2009 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572237   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc GrauwelsSophie HallynckZacharias SpyridakisDalia Ouziel,   ... 
Conductor:  Michel TilkinIannis LeonidakisEdwig AbrathMichel Tilken
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Philharmonic OrchestraBrussels VirtuosiFlanders Opera Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Yannis Markopoulos, who just turned 71, was one of the main figures behind the "Return to the Roots" movement in Greek music thirty years ago. The works presented on this album are mostly from the latest years, although some go back as far as half a century. Still, they are unified by the composer's characteristic style. The works are melodic, with a firm bass and rather conservative harmonic progression. Rhythm plays a vital part, and folk elements are abundant. The music is for the most part tonal, at times bordering on minimalistic. Melodies avoid large leaps, usually going up and down the scale, or circling around a note.

The opening Pyrrichios Dance No. 13 gives a
Read more good preview of the style. The composer succeeds in making it instantly likeable, but at the same time not tedious. He achieves this by combining the stable with the changing. The music is based on a very solid bass, almost static. The strings repeat their statements without much alteration, whereas the flute's part is ever-changing, fluent like water, varying as in the best variations. The name Nemesis has no macabre connotations here. Nemesis is the Greek goddess of retribution, the bringer of balance, not necessarily vengeance. As the poet Mesomedes put it: "Nemesis, winged balancer of life, dark-faced goddess, daughter of Justice". Here she dances, and soft are her steps. Which gives us another recurrent feature of Markopoulos' works: his music often has gentle, feminine traits. And it is beautiful.

Shapes in Motion, a concerto for piano and orchestra, stylistically stands apart from other works on the album, and requires from the listener more effort to follow the stream of metamorphoses that the motifs undergo. In my humble opinion, there is too much repetition. The music is very intense throughout; there is literally no rest until the cadenza in the last movement. There’s a lot of excitement, for sure. Still, the work looks one-sided.

The Triptych is sunny summer-music. The delicate flute dances and sings. The strings are sensitive and supporting. As in Nemesis, the superimposing of stable and mutable makes the music approachable yet interesting. The three parts are in turn playful, pastoral and contemplative.

There is a lot of folk influence in the Concerto-Rhapsody for Cretan lyre and orchestra. The sound of the instrument is engaging: it could be compared to an oboe, as if a viola were compared to a clarinet. The tiny first movement introduces it in a wide, stately melody. The second movement, with its virile stomps and leaps, has much that is predictable, but does not become boring. The same scheme - stable bass and orchestral tutti, varying solo above - leads to interesting dialogues between instruments. There is a feeling of a group dance and of a certain inevitability. The dance gets faster in the third movement. The music has an almost hypnotic power, turning and swirling the dance motif again and again (and, for me, far too much) - until the orchestra puts a sudden end to proceedings.

I liked the Little Fantasy for flute and piano. It has a beautiful melody, which is developed like a song without words. It stands on the verge of "easy listening" music, but, in my opinion, does not cross it. All is moderate and balanced. Lamento is short but memorable. It has some British feeling around it. The momentum is good, the melody is attractive and suits the flute's voice very well. Finally, Sunlit Landscapes for solo flute could be the Greek Lark Ascending: it "dreams itself along" in a similar way. This is not a buoyant way to end the album, I admit, but still a pleasant one.

All performances are devoted and technically immaculate. I would especially praise the sensitive and expressive flute of Marc Grauwels. The recording quality is excellent. The liner-notes tell you everything one could possibly wish to know about the composer, the works and the performers. However, something tells me I won't return often to this disc. There is too much of the feeling of "almost", and too much predictability. That said, it is good music to listen to for a few times. But don't rush through the disc at once - make breaks.

-- Oleg Ledeniov, MusicWeb International  Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Pyrrichios Dances (24): no 13, Nemesis by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute)
Conductor:  Michel Tilkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001 
2.
Triptych by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute), Sophie Hallynck (Harp)
Conductor:  Iannis Leonidakis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Virtuosi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969-2006 
3.
Concerto-Rhapsody by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Zacharias Spyridakis (Lyre)
Conductor:  Edwig Abrath
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Opera Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986 
4.
Little Fantasy by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute), Dalia Ouziel (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005 
5.
Classical Sketches (2): no 2, Lamento by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute), Sophie Hallynck (Harp)
Conductor:  Iannis Leonidakis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Virtuosi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958 
6.
Evilia Topia by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2007 
7.
24 Pyrrichioi Dances: Pyrrichios Dance No. 13, "Nemesis" by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Dimitri Papatheodorou (Piano), Marc Grauwels (Flute)
Conductor:  Michel Tilken
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Belgian Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 7 Minutes 18 Secs. 
8.
Shapes in Motion (Piano Concerto): 1. Allegro by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Dimitri Papatheodorou (Piano), Marc Grauwels (Flute)
Conductor:  Edwig Abrath
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999 
Length: 7 Minutes 34 Secs. 
9.
Shapes in Motion (Piano Concerto): 2. Moderato by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Dimitri Papatheodorou (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwig Abrath
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999 
Length: 5 Minutes 59 Secs. 
10.
Shapes in Motion (Piano Concerto): 3. Allegro presto by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Dimitri Papatheodorou (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwig Abrath
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999 
Length: 7 Minutes 38 Secs. 
11.
Triptych for Flute, Strings and Harp: 1. Mitir (Mother): Andante moderato by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Sophie Hallynck (Harp), Marc Grauwels (Flute)
Conductor:  Iannis Leonidakis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Virtuosi
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 59 Secs. 
12.
Triptych for Flute, Strings and Harp: 2. Esperio Fos (Evening Light): Adagio by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute), Sophie Hallynck (Harp)
Conductor:  Iannis Leonidakis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Virtuosi
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
13.
Triptych for Flute, Strings and Harp: 3. Agapi (Love): Andantino scherzoso by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute), Sophie Hallynck (Harp)
Conductor:  Iannis Leonidakis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Virtuosi
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
14.
Concerto-Rhapsody (for cretan lyre and orchestra): 1. Andantino by Yannis Markopoulos
Conductor:  Edwig Abrath
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
15.
Concerto-Rhapsody (for cretan lyre and orchestra): 2. Allegro moderato by Yannis Markopoulos
Conductor:  Edwig Abrath
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 7 Minutes 26 Secs. 
16.
Concerto-Rhapsody (for cretan lyre and orchestra): 3. Pyrrichios: Presto by Yannis Markopoulos
Conductor:  Edwig Abrath
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 45 Secs. 
17.
Little Fantasy (for flute and piano) by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Dalia Ouziel (Piano), Marc Grauwels (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 29 Secs. 
18.
Classical Sketches: No. 2. Lamento by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute), Sophie Hallynck (Harp)
Conductor:  Iannis Leonidakis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Virtuosi
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
19.
Evilia Topia (Sunlight Landscapes) (for solo flute) by Yannis Markopoulos
Performer:  Marc Grauwels (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 14 Secs. 

Sound Samples

24 Pyrrichioi Dances: Pyrrichios Dance No. 13, "Nemesis"
Shapes in Motion: I. Allegro
Shapes in Motion: II. Moderato
Shapes in Motion: III. Allegro presto
Triptych for Flute, Strings and Harp: I. Mitir (Mother): Andante moderato
Triptych for Flute, Strings and Harp: II. Esperio Fos (Evening Light): Adagio
Triptych for Flute, Strings and Harp: III. Agapi (Love): Andantino scherzoso
Concerto-Rhapsody: I. Andantino
Concerto-Rhapsody: II. Allegro moderato
Concerto-Rhapsody: III. Pyrrichios: Presto
Little Fantasy
2 Classical Sketches: No. 2. Lamento
Evilia Topia (Sunlit Landscapes)

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