Thursday, March 29, 2007

Nikos Skalkottas

103 years from Skalkottas' birth passed few days ago. One of the greatest Greek composers ever, he never was appreciated as he should. This post doesn't intend to write a biography of him, in the same manner as previous didn't. Instead, I will provide a list of links connected -in a way or another- to him. I hope you will enjoy.

First some biographies in Wikipedia:

In English

Auf Deutsch

En Español

Then another one in English with sound examples: here.

Peloponnesian Dance -from the 36 Greek dances for orchestra- Ural State Philharmonic Orchestra, Byron Fidetzis

You can find recordings of his works here (20 with examples in some of them), here (32), and here (66).

Reviews on him and his works:

36 dances for Orchestra

32 piano pieces

On him, in German

His published works can be found in Universal, Schirmer, and Presser.

There are three important books on Skalkottas right now in the market. Two of them in Greek, a biography in two volumes by John G. Papaioannou Nikos Skalkottas from the year 1997, published by the Papagrigoriou-Nakas music house, ISBN 960-7554-32-9; the second just came out few months ago. Written by George Hadjinikos, a well known Greek pianist, Nikos Skalkottas, a resumption to the approach of the musical thought and interpretation (translation by me), was published in 2006 by Nefeli, ISBN: 960-211-823-7. The third book, by Judit Alsmeier is in German: Komponieren mit Tönen: Nikos Skalkottas und Schönbergs "Komposition mit zwölf Tönen". It was published in 2001 by Pfau Verlag, ISBN: 3-89727-124-9. A critique on this book you can find here.

Another critique, this time on a recording of his work, is the following. I found it here.

NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): 32 Klavierstücke: Andante religioso, Childrens' Dance, Short Variations, Catastrophe in the Jungle, Greek Folk Dance, Reverie in Old Style, Reverie in New Style, Little Four-Part Canon, Marcia Funebre, Sonatina, Partita, Little Serenade, Intermezzo, Tango, Passacaglia, Night Music, Morning Serenade of the Little Maid, Foxtrot - The Old Policeman, Fantastic Etude, Lullaby, Romance - Lied, Gavotte, Menuetto, Italian Serenade, Ragtime (Dance), Slow Foxtrot, Gallop, Blues, Rondo Brillante, Caprice, Waltz, Little Peasant March. Published by Margun Music (GM, the name of Gunther Schuller's label, stands for Gunmar...)only in 1992, this collection of piano pieces was apparently written during one week in the months of June-August of 1940. Monumental in scope and duration, they also make superhuman technical demands on the performer. Greek folk music and popular American music are filtered through Skalkottas' own serial style and his often intense harmonic, rhythmic and contrapuntal workings but the most flattering thing one can say about a composer is that, even to people who shy away from "twelve-tone music", the Greek composer communicates, weaves webs of often hypnotic fascination and intensity which will grip even the least adventurous collector. Specialists will be particularly thankful to Gunther Schuller for his 18 (!) pages of notes and musical examples. 2 CDs. Idith Meshulam (piano). GM Recordings GM2074CD (U.S.A.) 08G086 $35.98

Mrs Mantzourani (PhD -on Skalkottas- at King's College) has extensively researched Skalkottas' work. Here you can find her works.

That's just about it... Have to go to sleep.

buzz it!

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