David's Review Corner
, December 2019
One of the great pleasures of being a record critic is to discover composers that are unknown to us, the Bulgarian, Atanas Ourkouzounov, being a new name to me.
Growing up in Sofia, he studied guitar and composition before moving to the Paris Conservatoire. From there he has created a much acclaimed international career as a guitarist, while at the same time becoming a prolific composer, mainly in the field of the guitar, including two concertos for the instrument. Born in 1970, he was just sixteen when he completed his first sonata, the second, ‘Hommage a Bartok’, completed the following year. Maybe if you want to enter Ourkouzouov’s musical world, you could start with the technically demanding whirlwind Toccata that ends that Sonata in a mood of sheer bravura. There was seventeen years before the Third was completed, with the most recent sonata dating from last year. All are in three movements—if you link the two very short ones at the centre of the Second—but as from the Third it has entered a new and progressive musical world of atonality, the jagged opening movement of the Fourth, from 2016, far removed from the melodic world as it explores complexity. The performer, Kostas Tosidis, was born in Greece in 1978, and has a concert career on both sides of the Atlantic placing him in the world premiere league. Certainly this disc sets him apart from the normal touring artist with a show of remarkable agility and a mastering of complexity. The recorded sound from Salzburg, in Austria, is unusual in having the lower strings seemingly in a different ambiance to the upper ones, the microphone being placed very close. Still, let that deter you from discovering Ourkouzounov. © 2019 David’s Review Corner