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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

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Dimitri FAMPAS (1921-1996)
Greek dance no.3 "Sousta" [4:18}; Greek dance "Viacha" [3:35]; Greek dance no.1 "Karaguna" [3:23]; Concert Study no 8 [3:15]; Greek Suite - The country of centaurs [2:36], Tsamikos Dance [4:07], Ravines [3:51], Syrtaki Dance [4:04]; Three short romantic Preludes: in D major [0:44], in E major [0:33], in A minor [0:56]; Concert study no. 23 [3:22]; Poem [3:23]; Fantastic Dance [2:55]; Fairy tale [2:07]; Segovia’s Portrait [3:13]; Suite in an Old Style- Prelude, Bourré, Allemande, Aria melancholic, Loure 1 and 2 [11:39]
Eva Fampas, guitar.
rec. Room S Recording Studios. No date given
AULIA AA 69001 [58:39]

Few musicians will ever have the privilege to record an entire programme of music written by their father. Independent of paternal fealty, the general standard of the music presented on this new release by Greek guitarist Eva Fampas more than justifies her undertaking.

Recorded programmes dedicated entirely to one modern composer for the guitar often encounter difficulties with " too much of more of the same". The eclectic nature of these original compositions by Dimitri Fampas ranges from Greek dances, melodic concert studies for guitar to a suite in the "Old Style" which has a baroque flavour.

Fampas (1921-1996) was Greece’s most celebrated classical guitarist. He studied guitar initially with Nicholas Ioannou; also theory of music with Th. Vavayiannis and counterpoint with K. Kydoniatis at the Athens Conservatory. In 1955-56 he received a scholarship to study guitar with Andrès Segovia and musicology with Emilio Pujol at the Academia Chigianna in Sienna, Italy. In 1959 he studied once more with Segovia at the Academy of Santiago, Spain. Fampas’s performing career spanned almost four decades during which he gave hundreds of recitals worldwide. He taught at the National Conservatory of Athens where he created a world famous guitar school.

Simultaneous with performing and teaching Fampas composed over 200 solos, concert studies, melodies and dances enriching the guitar repertory with the very essence of Greek music.

Any guitarist who commenced their study of the instrument playing a transcription of "Lime Light" by Charlie Chaplin gets a strong vote from this writer. In this instance the guitarist was Eva Fampas and the transcription by her father Dimitri. Ms. Fampas is no stranger to classical guitar circles, with a career as a performing concert artist spanning almost two decades. She has studied with eminent professors such as composer Dimitri Dragatakis and composer-maestros Theodore Antoniou and Leo Brouwer.

Included in the numerous awards and distinctions to her credit is first prize in the 16th International Guitar competition of the Guitar Academy of Milan. Eva teaches classical guitar at the National Conservatory of Athens and at various institutions worldwide.

On the review disc the programme’s predominant flavour is that of Greek folk music with its intriguing rhythms; however in some compositions the sounds of Spain lingers like perfume from a Granada flower garden on a summer’s eve. The Concert Study No.8 (Tr. 4) is structurally traditional but nonetheless very enjoyable listening and with obvious didactic virtues. "Suite in an Old Style" provides a strong balance to the programme. This composition comprises six short movements and the quality is such that it could be a pastiche attributable to almost any eminent baroque composer for lute/vihuela

Eva Fampas is very much ‘at home’ with music of her motherland; this empathy is further enhanced by all original compositions from the pen of her father.

The key strength of this recording is its programme: relatively unknown works, well written and well played. If there is an Achilles’ heel in the playing it is in the execution of tremolo in Concert Study No. 23 (Tr. 12). This is a very challenging technique to execute well and smoothly but numerous guitarists manage it to perfection in their recordings e.g. Norbert Kraft, Naxos 8.553007 - Memories of the Alhambra.

Unfortunately this is not one CD that can be "judged by its cover". The overall presentation is a little dated and belies the quality of the contents.

In summary this recording brings to mind an observation once made of the great French pianist Alfred Cortot: not always technically perfect but always musically excellent.

Zane Turner

 

 



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