the world of music a “Rising Star” can receive no more meaningful
praise and acknowledgement than that bestowed by an established,
and revered fellow musician.
the King’s throne was already permanently occupied, Andrès
Segovia, in all his humility, was only able to allocate youthful
John Williams the epithet, [A new]-”Prince of the Guitar”
no crown to protect the great Cuban guitarist and composer
Leo Brouwer was less restrained and gave Elena Papandreou
what must be the ultimate accolade - “If you want to hear
music of the highest level of interpretation with poetical
perfection you must hear E.P.” The greatest guitarist
of his generation, Alirio Diaz said about her - “Her musicality
through her refined technique cannot but stir up the imagination
of her audience.”
new release on the BIS label presents Greek guitarist Elena
Papandreou. She plays the music of Roland Dyens including
the world premier recording of “Triaela”.
in her discography is one other BIS release, featuring the
music of Nikita Koshkin (CD 1236). She has also made two other
recordings for Naxos. The works of Leo Brouwer are presented on Naxos 8.554553 and a compilation of several different composers, predominantly
Greek, appears on Naxos 8.554001.
was born in Athens in 1966 and studied guitar at the
National Conservatory of Athens under Evangelos Boudounis,
graduating with honours in 1985. Aided by a scholarship from
the British Council, she then attended the Royal Northern
College of Music, England, studying with Gordon Crosskey.
In 1986 she obtained the Diploma in Advanced Studies in Musical
tuition was received from Oscar Ghilia, Alirio Diaz, Julian
Bream, Leo Brouwer and Ruggero Chiesa.
has won first prize in three international competitions, Maria
Callas (Greece), Gargnano (Italy) and Alessandria (Italy).
programme presented here is entirely from the pen of French
guitarist/composer Roland Dyens. Tunisian-born in 1955, Dyens
is a distinctive figure in the world of classical guitarist/composer.
He commenced lessons on guitar aged nine with Robert Maison
who, although unknown internationally, instilled within him
a passion for the guitar that now pervades his whole approach
to playing/composing. Continuing with Albert Ponce at the
Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris,
where he graduated with top honours in performance, he went
on to win major international guitar competitions.
also studied conducting and composition with Désiré Dondeyne
and now teaches at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de
Musique in Paris.
music is hard to categorize in simple “pigeon-holing” terms.
It is equally challenging to separate the many different styles
that make up his complex musical personality. The wide expanse
of Brazil is a predominant voice. Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose compositions for
the guitar were only a fraction of his prodigious output,
is a major influence, as is the Brazilian pianist and guitarist
Egberto Gismonti, seen by many as a successor to Villa-Lobos.
of Dyens’ compositions require a virtuosic technique to even
attempt them. This was not a conscious effort on the part
of the composer but rather a case of the composer following
his own creative muse.
the review disc what may potentially distract some listeners
through a degree of “sameness” is very thoughtfully avoided
by careful sequencing of the compositions.
Dyens is probably best known for his composition Tango
en Skaï that occupies the first track - and what an attention-getter
it is! This composition, begun in 1978 as an improvisation,
was not published until 1985 since when it has become part
of the repertory. It is a caricature of the Argentine tango
- skaï in French means imitation leather. The player
should aim for elements of humour, for maximum dynamics and
minimum rubato. The rendition by Ms Papandreou is as good
as I have heard and generates a penchant to further explore
next programmed item is “Triaela”[2-4] composed in 2001/2002
and dedicated to Elena Papandreou. From this group of three
pieces, Clown Down  is a tribute to pianist/guitarist Egberto
Gismonti. A first class guitarist, Gismonti had a love of
guitars with extra bass strings, hence the inspiration for
scordatura in this composition - an “E” bass string retuned
down to “A”. After several more tracks of very contemporary
pieces we arrive at an “oasis” of two compositions that have
a more melodic structure, Valse des longes  and Flying
Wigs . The latter has echoes of Segovia’s “Remembranza”.
is a fine recording in which both musician and music are complementary.
In every way imaginable Papandreou lives up to the fine tributes
paid to her and it is hard to conceive better execution and
interpretation of this music.
is very common for the opinions of teachers to strongly affect
the choices made by students when selecting an instrument.
Disciples of John Williams gravitate toward instruments by
Australian luthier Greg Smallman. Through ownership and recommendation
to his pupils, Cuban/American guitarist Manuel Barrueco played
a significant role in the establishment of Robert Ruck as
a luthier of international repute.
this occasion Ms Papapandreou plays a beautiful instrument
by Jose Romanillos. It has been the practice of Romanillos
to give each instrument a Spanish name, and this particular
instrument was named La Añorada (1992). It may be purely co-incidental
that over the past several decades Julian Bream has also played,
almost exclusively, guitars by this same luthier.
its inception, BIS has established a reputation for recordings
that incorporate the highest standards for true high fidelity
reproduction. For some time they have included a number of
fine classical guitarists in its catalogue. On the review
disc the combination of an outstanding musician, a fine guitar
and high recording standards allows insight into the music
that, even at a live recital, is often not possible.
new release is recommended listening. The informative and
well-written notes are an added bonus.