WORKS: Violin Sonata; Petite Suite No. 1; Petite Suite No. 2; Duo for Violin & Cello; Duo for Violin & Viola; Scherzo for Four Instruments; Three Greek Folksong Arrangements
PERFORMER: Georgios Demertzis (violin), Maria Asteriadou (piano), Chara Sira (viola), Maria Kitsopoulos (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1204
These pieces date from the last ten years of Skalkottas’s short life, when he’d completely absorbed the influences of his teachers Weill and Schoenberg, the background of Greek folk music and his own experience as a professional violinist. They’re all neatly encapsulated in the short Scherzo, where the exhilarating motoric dance of the outer sections is offset by the night-club atmosphere of the trio. And in the large-scale Violin Sonata, the three movements in turn show Schoenbergian concentration (with an explosive force reminiscent of the first movement of Skalkottas’s own Third Quartet), bluesy insouciance and the energy of a knees-up in a taverna. The two little suites make the folk connection more explicit, especially the first, where the movements are called (and are) ‘Dance’, ‘Greek Folk-Song’ and ‘In the Style of a Peasant Dance’. But the real discovery is the Duo for Violin and Cello. This has a variety of texture, mood and pacing in the four movements – ending with a vigorous ‘Peasant Dance Scene’, and taking in a lyrical Andante, with the two instruments weaving loving arabesques around each other – that put it on a par with the Kodály. Demertzis and his colleagues are superb advocates for this wonderful music.