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Skalkottas: Sinfonietta, Concerto & Suite / Fidetzis, Athens Philharmonia


Release Date: 02/07/2020 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 2434  
Composer:  Nikos Skalkottas
Performer:  Georgios DemertzisVassilis VarvaresosEleftherios Venizelos
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This programme of previously unrecorded works illustrates a highly distinctive aspect of Nikos Skalkottas as a composer: The ‘neoclassical’ Skalkottas goes hand in hand with the ‘national’ and the ‘modernist’ composer, the common denominators being perfect architecture of form, harmonic refinement and skillful orchestration. The opening Sinfonietta in B flat major is a typical example of the composer’s ‘neoclassical’ side. In four movements and with a duration of 25 minutes, it was written in 1948, during Skalkottas’s final years. It is followed by the Suite for Violin and Chamber Orchestra and the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, examples of the composer’s atonal idiom. Both works were among the many that disappeared after the Read more composer left Berlin in 1933. The remaining pieces demonstrate Skalkottas’s involvement with the project of exploring the traditional music of Greece. The Cretan folk song Digenés in his Last Agony was transcribed and harmonized by Skalkottas – for this release a recording from 1930 of the voice of Eleftherios Venizelos, the Greek Prime Minister at the time, has been superimposed over the newly recorded orchestral accompaniment. The two marches are original compositions, but follow Greek models, while the Nine Greek Dances are Skalkottas’s orchestrations of published folk songs. Simple and functional, they are in no way reminiscent of his great work, the 36 Greek Dances for large orchestra, but still reveal the composer’s refined aesthetic approach. In a labor of love, the music is performed by conductor Byron Fidetzis and violinist Georgios Demertzis, who have both made important contributions to the Skalkottas discography, as well as pianist Vassilis Varvaresos and the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra, making their first appearance on BIS. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sinfonietta in B-Flat Major, AK 10 by Nikos Skalkottas
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; Greece 
2.
Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, AK 21 by Nikos Skalkottas
Performer:  Georgios Demertzis (Violin), Vassilis Varvaresos (Piano)
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Greece 
Notes: reconstructed by Yannis Samprovalakis 
3.
Little Suite, AK 23 by Nikos Skalkottas
Performer:  Georgios Demertzis (Violin)
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; Greece 
Notes: reconstructed by Yannis Samprovalakis 
4.
Digenés in his Last Agony by Nikos Skalkottas
Performer:  Eleftherios Venizelos (Vocals)
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; Greece 
Notes: arr. Yannis Samprovalakis for voice and orchestra 
5.
Ancient Greek March, AK 11d by Nikos Skalkottas
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946-1947; Greece 
Notes: version for chamber orchestra 
6.
March (1947) by Nikos Skalkottas
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; Greece 
Notes: [Musical Archive of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women manuscript] 
7.
Greek Dances (9) by Nikos Skalkottas
Conductor:  Byron Fidetzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946-1947; Greece 
Notes: [Musical Archive of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women manuscript] 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Fidetzis Conducts Skalkottas June 28, 2020 By Art Music Lady See All My Reviews "What strikes me after hearing this CD in addition to the Piano Concerto No. 3 is that Skalkottas seemed to be moving towards a more popular and populist style of composition in his last three years, undoubtedly in order to get more of his music played by the orchestras in which he was a violinist. This is kind of a shame, but then again, Aaron Copland followed a similar path in the late 1930s. Both the Concerto for Violin, Piano & Orchestra and the Suite for Violin & Chamber Orchestra are in the edgier, more modern-sounding Skalkottas of the Piano Concerto No. 3, thus I liked them very much. The disc concludes with a series of “Two Marches and Nine Greek Dances” composed in 1946-47. They’re nice pieces but, in my view, not really great or interesting ones. The dances are lively but, to my ears, also very militaristic in tone. This is kind of a shame, but then again, Aaron Copland followed a similar path in the late 1930s. All in all, however, this is an excellent disc that on should hear. See my complete review at https://artmusiclounge.wordpress.com/2020/02/04/fidetzis-conducts-skalkottas/" Report Abuse
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