About this Recording
8.553774 - Guitar Recital: Antigoni Goni

Koyunbaba Op.19 (1985)
Carlo Domeniconi (b. 1947)
The Italian-born guitarist-composer Carlo Domeniconi has written many concertos, chamber and solo works for the guitar. Since 1969 he has lived in Berlin but from 1977-1980 he taught at the Conservatory of Music in Istanbul, an experience that has had a lasting effect on his work; the influence of Turkish music in many of his later compositions is strong. Koyunbaba is one such work. The title can be interpreted in two ways; first as "shepherd" (Koyun = sheep, baba = father) or secondly as the name of a thirteenth-century holy man who lived in South-west Turkey, an area that now bears his name. The two are brought together in Domeniconi's concept, that a shepherd is uniquely given both the time and insight to contemplate and understand the vastness and immense power of Nature. The area of Koyunbaba, with its spectacular and contrasting land- and seascape, is particularly conducive to such profound thoughts, mirrored in the eponymous music. Each of the four movements develops a separate mood in the hypnotic fashion of eastern music and on a time-scale that reflects the unhurried life of both shepherd and mystic, using a wide range of the guitar's available devices and tex1ures.

Invocación y Danza Joaquin Rodrigo (b. 1901)
It remains mysterious as to why Rodrigo should have floated a work on the unpredictable waters of a competition, more than two decades after the première of his Concierto de Aranjuez, but he was justified; the Invocación y Danza won First Prize in the French Radio and Television Competition in 1961 and was first performed in the following year by its dedicatee, the Venezuelan guitarist Alirio Diaz. Thereafter it took some time to establish itself in the concert repertory, owing to the unplayability of the original score; though different guitarists have adapted it in various ways, it remains a peculiarly difficult work both to play and to interpret. The piece is in homage to Manuel de Falla, to whom Rodrigo has often declared his indebtedness, and it makes direct but fleeting reference to two of his works: Noches en los jardines de España and El amor brujo. The brooding mysticism and pleading of the Invocation gives way to the energy of the Dance, in the form of the polo, a folk dance-song in syncopated triple time. It is Falla who has the final quiet word.

Suite Compostelana (1962)
Federico Mompou (1893-1987)
Federico Mompou, a Spanish pianist-composer, was mainly self-taught. He lived for most of his life in Paris, where he was greatly influenced by Satie and Debussy. The bulk of his compositional output consisted of piano miniatures and vocal music, both of which elements have a bearing on the Suite Compostelana, his only work for the guitar. The Suite pays tribute to the Spanish cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela, where for many years Andres Segovia held his annual summer school. The Prelude is largely based on continuously moving lines, beginning and ending with clear and simple tonality but passing through remoter regions en route. The Coral (chorale), in four-part chords, recalls Bach's many works in the genre, though not in its harmonization, and pays its respects to the cathedral. The gentle rocking of the Cuna (cradle-song), expressed with charming simplicity, gives way in the middle to a chordal interlude with 'folkloric' overtones -the 'song' itself? The Recitativo is in fact a dialogue in which one voice is insistent and masculine, whilst the other is playful and feminine. Mompou had the gift of melody and never forgot its importance; this is evident in the plaintive Canci6n, where the song is overlaid with open fourths and fifths, folk-like in effect but not in origin. Santiago de Compostela is at the heart of the region of Galicia, from which the Muñeira, a fiery folk-dance comes.

Un Suefio en la Floresta
Agustín Barrios Mangoré (1885-1944)
Barrios was a Paraguayan guitarist and composer, performed widely in South America and Europe, but his career was, like that of several distinguished others, overshadowed by that of Andres Segovia. He was the first guitarist to make recordings, the earliest of which date from before World War I, and the first to play an entire suite of Bach. It was not until the 1970s that more than a few of his many compositions became known. Sueño en la Floresta (Dream in the Magic Garden) is a spell-binding exercise in tremolo, utterly idiomatic to the guitar, as are all Barrios' works.

El Decamerón negro
Leo Brouwer (b.1939)
Leo Brouwer, a Cuban and a multi-talented musical polymath, places a high value on the quality of imagination in composition, and in this work he certainly demonstrates that belief. El Decamerón negro is inspired by three ballads on African stories, collected in Black Africa at the beginning of the present century by the anthropologist and writer Leo Frobenius. The title is clearly borrowed from Boccaccio, whose Decamerón was the first-ever collection of fictional stories. Brouwer says of the work: "The main story is about a great warrior who wants to be a musician. Expelled from his tribe and separated from his loved one, he wanders in the mountains. When the tribe began to lose every battle they begged him to fight with them again. He won every war and then returned to the mountains with his love". So vividly does the music illustrate the text, that a blow-by-blow account would be necessary only to those who entirely Jack the imagination that Brouwer prizes. The last movement contains the most tenderly lyrical melody in any of Brouwer's works.

John W. Duane, 1997

Antigoni Goni
The Greek-born guitarist Antigoni Goni was first prize winner in the 1995 International Guitar Foundation of America Competition, her success leading to a fifty-recital North American concert tour and her present recording contract with Naxos. In 1991 she took first prize in the Julian Bream Competition and was a prize- winner in the 1995 Stotsenberg International Competition, the 1993 Artists International Competition and the 1988 International Guitar Competition in the Cuban capital of Havana. Antigoni Goni studied with Evangelos Assimakopoulos at the National Conservatory in Athens and, with John Mills and Julian Bream, at the Royal Academy of Music in London and subsequently with Sharon Isbin at the New York Juilliard School of Music. As a soloist and recitalist she has appeared in Moscow and St Petersburg and extensively throughout Europe and North America. She is now head of the guitar department of The Juilliard Pre-College Division.

The following people have in one way or another contributed their magic, inspiration, faith, love, tolerance, support, knowledge and friendship. I would like to thank each and every one of them: My parents, Angeliki and Konstantinos, and my brother Nicholas. Without them I would not have come this far. My teachers Evangelos and Lisa, John Mills, Sharon Isbin and Oscar Gighlia. My fabulous producers Bonnie and Norbert Kraft, my dear friend and guide Manolis Lianandonakis, NAXOS, the GFA board, Kostas Konstsandinidis, Natel Matschulat, Annaliese Soros and Alexandra Kalin for their faith and support. Kevin R. Gallagher (without his inspiration, love and support this project would have been a lot harder), Megan Dodds my spiritual sister, Tali Roth (for friendship and support). My friends all over the world... and you who read these notes right now and are willing to share my music.

Antigoni Goni

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