Skalkottas: Sonata for Solo Violin; Sonatina No. 1 for Violin and Piano; Sonatina No. 2 for Violin and Piano; Sonatina No. 3 for Violin and Piano; Sonatina No. 4 for Violin and Piano; Nocturne; Rondo

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COMPOSERS: Skalkottas
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Sonata for Solo Violin; Sonatina No. 1 for Violin and Piano; Sonatina No. 2 for Violin and Piano; Sonatina No. 3 for Violin and Piano; Sonatina No. 4 for Violin and Piano; Nocturne; Rondo
PERFORMER: Georgios Demertzis (violin)Maria Asteriadou (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1024
That Skalkottas was an accomplished professional violinist is apparent in every bar of these works. The Solo Sonata, especially in the expert hands of Demertzis, is completely idiomatic at every turn, perhaps even more so than the later, great Sonata by Bartok. Like that work, it looks back to Baroque models, including the final movement fugue, but has time for wit and playfulness as well. That’s also a characteristic of the only surviving movement of the First Sonatina, a compellingly foot-tapping tango, and the outer movements of the Second Sonatina. The tragedy for Skalkottas was that his engagement with popular and folk idioms did nothing to endear him to the Schoenberg set in Berlin, while his use of 12-note methods was an equal turn-off to critics in Greece. Back there in 1935, he wrote his last two Sonatinas, where his language became more uncompromisingly serial, but he always maintained a clarity of thought and texture which prevents the ears and mind from becoming clogged: the Seven Pieces are models of how to encapsulate a brief musical idea within the span of a miniature. Demertzis and Asteriadou match the confidence of the music with performances of real beauty, conviction and flair. Martin Cotton

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