TSITSAROS Poetic Moments. Songs Without Words. Sonatina Humoresque. Dances from Around the World. Fantasia on Polish Christmas Carols, “Kolendy” • Christos Tsitsaros (pn) • CENTAUR 3175 (51:41)
Christos Tsitsaros calls the compositions on this compact disc Easier Piano Works because they can be played by intermediate to advanced students. The way he plays them, however, demonstrates what kind of gems can be fashioned from these miniatures by a fineRead more musician. That in itself is a very good lesson.
In the first group, Poetic Moments, the “Migrating Bird” seems to be leaving the south to join his flock and make a new nest in a more temperate climate. A “Lullaby” is unusual in the second place on a program, but this one is a totally pleasant interlude. The “Blues Valsette” of the falling leaves is a charming miniature that would be wonderful for a little girl’s autumn dance recital. If one child can play and the other dance, that could be an excellent experience for both. “The Little Carousel” tells the story of one ride at a fair that only makes you want to ride again. Tsitsaros writes wonderful rags, and the one in this suite describes the mating dance of butterflies. “Unfinished Melody” has roots in the composer’s childhood, when he composed a version of it at age 11. This version has definitely grown up and become sophisticated. The colorful, astringent “Westbound Train” is coming from the east and if you are a movie fan, it may be the subject of a robbery and gunfight. It’s a good rousing way to end the cycle of Poetic Moments.
Songs Without Words begins with a “Winter Fable” that could be played out by the frosted shapes on a windowpane. When “Autumn Storms” are cold and wet, it makes sense to stay indoors and listen to music written about fall weather. The Scherzo of sledding music is smooth for most of the way, but I think everyone falls off at the bottom of the hill. The composer tells us that the piece he calls “Searching” does not refer to the physical but rather to a state of mind and soul. “Mirage” also has a spiritual aspect. The search for water in the desert can be a parallel to the search for one’s self. “On the Wings of a Song” is proof that 21st-century composers can, on occasion, write beautiful music in 19th-century style. Tsitsaros follows it with a perfectly charming short milonga that might be danced by youngsters learning ballroom dance. “Sounds of the Rain” invites the neophyte pianist to play a virtual rainstorm. “For Love’s Sorrow” you can write your own sad story. All of us have them tucked away in the back of our minds.
The Preambulum of Tsitsaros’s Sonatina Humoresque is energetic and amusing, while the Pastorale allows the listener to relax in a peaceful setting and rest up for the spirited presto movement. Dances from Around the World introduces the young pianist to the rhythms of music from various parts of Europe. Tsitsaros knows these dances intimately, and plays his own versions of them with poetic phrasing and rhythmical intensity.
The finale on this disc is the Fantasia on Polish Christmas Kolendy or Christmas carols. For anyone who was brought up in a Polish neighborhood, this will remind you of long-lost people and places. The whole disc is well put together and it is a joy to hear. The sound that emanates from Tsitsaros’s piano is absolutely glorious.
Tsitsaros' music should have a wider audience October 30, 2016By colleen mcdonald (rockford, IL)See All My Reviews"I happened upon this CD after finding my way to "Sonatina Humoresque" through a post on the inter-net. I am an adult piano student currently learning that sonatina. After listening to this CD, I ordered 2 more books of Tsitsaros' music. Tsitsaros offers a variety of moods and styles, with many pieces in this collection that would appeal to listeners and pianists of all ages. He incorporates beautiful melodies, lively rhythms, interesting harmonies, and a few surprises. In addition to the Sonatina, my favorites of the moment are "Milongo de los Ninos" (a tango), "Waltz" (inspired by Tchaikovsky), and the haunting "Siciliana" (which would be terrific as the opening for a movie). I am enjoying introducing this music to my teacher. It is a very rewarding repertoire for intermediate level pianists, and it deserves to be played and heard more widely."Report Abuse