About this Recording
8.573322 - Guitar Music (Greek) - TZORTZINAKIS, K. / FAMPAS, D. / THEODORAKIS, M. / HATZOPOULOS, K. / MAVROEDES, G. (E. Fampas)

Greek Guitar Music
Tzortzinakis • Fampas • Theodorakis • Hadjopoulos • Mavroedes • Harizanos • Bogris • Athanassakis


In the 1950s the art of the guitar in Greece was in its heyday—clearly under the influence of Andrés Segovia’s brilliant career. The Greek School of the Guitar was founded at that time and its fame was not limited to Greek audiences. The leading figures of that artistic movement, according to age, were: Charalambos Ekmetsoglou (1913–1990), Gerassimos Miliaressis (1918–2005) and Dimitris Fampas (1921–1996). Each of them created his own school, the disciples of which imparted in turn their art to other students. Owing to the popularity of the guitar in Greece at that time, a plethora of guitarists emerged, many of whom currently pursue a successful international career. Meanwhile, a growing need for new guitar repertoire that would express local colour was clear. The well-established composers were less than indifferent to it. A new generation of guitarist-composers, however, eagerly rose to the challenge, which has produced brilliant musical results. The pieces comprising this collection come from this pool of modern Greek creation. Most of them have distinctive Greek features; all of them are original, apart from those composed by Mikis Theodorakis, who is the only one of the composers here who is not a guitarist.

Kyriakos Tzortzinakis (1950–1989). The untimely death of Kyriakos Tzortzinakis did not allow him to reach his full potential. He started studying the guitar at the age of 17 and composing at 25. With a jazz and rock background and academic studies in journalism and architecture, his was a creative and unconventional mind that focused mainly on the guitar. Without falling into any specific stylistic category, his works are obviously affected by the musical trends of the twentieth century. In the Four Greek Images (1975) impressionistic moods and a vivid descriptive style are discernible.

Dimitris Fampas (1921–1996). Dimitris Fampas was born on Pilion, one of the most beautiful Greek mountains. After having sailed the seas, he decided to turn to music and especially to the guitar. Andrés Segovia was one of his teachers. He taught for 35 years at the National Conservatory of Athens, where he founded an extremely productive school and became a leading figure of the guitar in Greece. He gave hundreds of recitals in Greece, Europe and North America, made recordings, enriched the guitar repertoire, and worked with great Greek composers such as Manos Hadjidakis (1925–1994) and Mikis Theodorakis. His daughter, Eva Fampas, has chosen three of his works for this recording: The Waltz, composed in 1960, is a concert etude in ternary rhythm, the Sousta, one of the three Greek dances composed in 1958, which together with the third piece, the four-part Suite No. 4, the so-called Greek Suite, is typical of Greek musical culture.

Mikis Theodorakis (b. 1925). Theodorakis is not just Greek; he is universal. He has composed both great art music and hundreds of fine songs, which made him famous all around the world. A thinker and actively engaged in politics, he changed the course of Greek song. He was the first to set intellectual poetry to music in a purely popular way. This began in 1958 with the sublime Epitaph, an eight-song cycle based on the poetry of the great Yiannis Ritsos (1909–1990). Many songs of this cycle have been transcribed for the classical guitar and performed by renowned guitarists such as the pioneer John Williams and Miloš Karadaglic. Two songs from Epitaph, A Day in May and You were good, transcribed by Yiannis Iliopoulos, are included on this recording. The song Mother and Virgin created by Mikis Theodorakis in 1960 for the cycle Politeia (Republic) is heard in a transcription by Dimitris Fampas.

Kostas Hadjopoulos (b. 1955). Kostas Hadjopoulos is better known as a composer of songs for his band Anemos. However, as a guitarist, he has worked with many colleagues in concerts and recordings. He has taught the guitar and started composing for it at an early age. In his award-winning work Three Greek Sketches, played here, Greek characteristics are clearly audible. It was composed in 1977.

George Mavroedes (b. 1967). George Mavroedes was a student of Dimitris Fampas. He is a multi-task artist: a classical guitar soloist, teacher, composer of music and songs, and a singer. Both pieces performed here were composed in 2001. The Journey sounds like a song without words with polyrhythmic and Latin features. According to the composer, “it is an imaginary conversation between Manos Hadjidakis, Astor Piazzolla and Dilermando Reis”. Seascape No. 2: Wreck in the living-room is dedicated to Dimitris Fampas’s memory: neoromanticism, Greek sounds and rhythms are quite apparent.

Nickos Harizanos (b. 1969). Nickos Harizanos studied the guitar with, among others, Eva Fampas and composition at Manchester University, where he was awarded an MA in Composition. He is a prolific composer. His works have been performed in many European countries, the United States and Asia, and he has received numerous prizes in international competitions. Polychordon, Op. 86, is a contemporary work with a tremolo intermezzo, composed in 2008 with the guitar not set to standard tuning. It is dedicated to Dimitris Fampas’s memory. Two Ballads and Dance, Op. 112, was completed at the beginning of 2012. The first Ballad is atmospheric and gentle. The second one, which includes the Dance, is lively and bright—in a major key—and is dedicated to Eva Fampas.

Minas Bogris (b. 1970). Minas Bogris is an extremely active artist: he has already recorded his own compositions, performs in recitals, is member of the ensemble Meli Cantus and works in the educational field at the Technological Institute of Piraeus. He composed the Waltz in 2005. It is written in a modern idiom with echoes of Manuel de Falla.

Nikos Athanassakis (b. 1972). The most recently composed work on this recording is by Nikos Athanassakis. He composed Taygetus on May Day 2013 and dedicated it to Eva Fampas. It is short, and makes use of the rhythmic style of kalamatianos, a Greek traditional dance. Athanassakis has undertaken extensive music studies and composed chamber, theatre and film music.

Yiorgos V. Monemvassitis

English translation: Marianna Mini

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