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Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, September 2020

Kalafati’s style incorporated elements of the Russian National School into traditional forms, as can be heard in the wide-ranging contrasts and Romantic lyricism of his only Symphony. The Polonaise has a celebratory character with exceptionally bright orchestration, while the ingenious Légende commemorates Schubert by transforming his themes into a colourful late-Romantic idiom. © 2020 Classical CD Choice Read complete review



Jim Westhead
MusicWeb International, September 2020

This extremely generously filled CD is yet another Naxos production that expands the range of music by composers that most Western music lovers have never heard of. For making these recordings, Naxos deserve to be extravagantly praised.

Légende is a symphonic poem, with the occasional use of a wordless female chorus, which interjects for a few bars several times. Stylistically, it is late romantic with appropriately full orchestration, with the tinkling of a celesta giving a sparkling conclusion to the choral passages.

…The chorus sing their brief parts well and the orchestra, founded as recently as late 2016, is equally committed. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Records International, September 2020

Greek by parentage, Kalafati settled permanently in St Petersburg in 1892 where he counted Rimsky-Korsakov among his teachers, and later included Stravinsky among a distinguished roll-call of his own students. Kalafati’s style incorporated elements of the Russian National School into traditional forms, as can be heard in the wide-ranging contrasts and Romantic lyricism of his only symphony, a big, four-movement work of 46 minutes dating from 1899-1912. The Polonaise (1905) has a celebratory character with exceptionally bright orchestration, while the ingenious Légende from 1928—yet another entry in the Schubert Centenary Competition—commemorates Schubert by transforming three of his themes into a colorful late-Romantic symphonic poem of 28 minutes with wordless choir that earned Kalafati well-deserved distinction at its premiere. © 2020 Records International



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, August 2020

Byron Fidetzis has previously ventured into the music of Kalomiris (Naxos) and Skalkottas (principally Bis). He proves a committed adept of this music and has presided over concert revivals of it in Athens. It is good to see that this conductor continues to spread his wings to revive such totally neglected music in the recording studio. His labours have been nicely responded to by Naxos engineering choices and documentation for this 81-minute CD. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2020

It is bizarre to include in a series of ‘Greek Classics’, a composer who was born in the Crimea and moved permanently to St. Petersburg where he made his career.

A student of Rimsky-Korsakov, he was a major composer in the seventy years of his life, having been born in 1869, but today he is best remembered as an educator at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, his students including Scriabin and Stravinsky. His only known symphony was written in 1899, but remained unpublished until 1912. Quite lengthy, it was cast in four movements, the slow Adagio being placed third. A clone of his mentor’s style of composition, it brought together some likeable melodic invention, the conductor of this recording, Byron Fidetzis, making a powerful statement of the opening movement. The scherzo is replete with light-hearted jollity; the essence of Imperial Russia permeates the rousing finale to contrast with the melodic warmth of the slow movement. Written in honour of Schubert, Legende from 1928, was an already outdated composition, Kalafati seeing Schubert through Russian eyes, the finale a grandeous statement that introduces a chorus. Finally, as an ‘encore’, we have a very traditional Polonaise straight from the world of a Tchaikovsky ballet. Kalafati could not have wished for more dedicated performances than these World Premiere recordings from the recently formed Athens orchestra. Well detailed sound. © 2020 David’s Review Corner





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