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Elena Papandreou : Elena Papandreou plays Roland Dyens : CD

DYENS: Tango en Skai; Triaela; Songe Capricorne ; Hommage a Villa – Lobos ; Trois Pieces Polyglottes; Lettre Encore; Libra Sonatine .

Elena Papandreou

BIS: 1366 – CD

After my previous review of some wonderful music by Roland Dyens comes …..another album of the music of Roland Dyens played by that superb Athens – born guitarist Elena Papandreou!

The recital begins with perhaps Dyens most famous piece, the pastiche of a Tango that is Tango en Skai, and great fun it is too, although it is, as with nearly everything Dyens wrote far from an easy piece to get right, but we have no need to worry here as Elena Papandreou makes all the fast and furious runs sound utterly simple and yet keeping the Tango sound absolutely in the foreground throughout. Next is a three movement set, Triaela written for Elena, and here getting its premiere recording. Opening with Light Motif, and subtitled Takemitsu au Bresil, an emotional introduction beginning on harmonics is followed by a sad but engaging little melody that leads to a section with a complex harmonic structure and some jazz – influenced chords .Incidentally there are some extremely low bass notes, that go down as far as an A an octave below the fifth. The quiet introduction returns for the final coda with an arresting final chord. The second movement Black Horn (When Spain meets Jazz) begins enigmatically before eventually picking up speed via a rolling idea that underpins some exotic harmonies and even a few note bends along the way. The final movement Clown Down (Gismonti au Cirque) pays tribute to Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti and dashes around the fingerboard almost continuously, again with the aid of a very low bass idea that reiterates underneath the constantly changing melodies and harmonies above. Towards the end some percussive sections interspersed with very energetic chord strumming take over and really finish the piece of with a bang. Songe Capricorne (Capricorn Dream) has many elements in its six minutes but again the overriding feeling is a sadness that continues throughout the often very complex writing, wonderfully captured by Elena Papandreou.The four - movement Hommage A Villa – Lobos (Climazonie, Danse Caracterielle et Bachianinha, Andantinostalgie, and Tuhu )consists of four tableaux whose titles make use of word – play and describe in their own way the influence his music had on Dyens and indeed all the music from Brazil but without actually quoting his style too much , for the whole piece sounds very much like Dyens. The last movement Tuhu is a real tour de force that our performer manages superbly, making it sound really easy which it most definitely is not! Trois Pieces Polyglottes (Sols d’ieze, Vals des loges, and Flying Wigs) .The opening Sols d’ieze, translating as G sharp , unsurprisingly centres around that note and key, in a most complex fashion before it leads to a gentle Vals des loges (Green Room Waltz) .The strangely names Flying Wigs , begins with a low voices melody underneath some gentle arpeggios, before the melody and harmonies reverse .This is a friendly piece with nice melodies and chordal ideas that does at times remind me a little of Villa – Lobos and his Preludes , unlike the previous piece on this CD , dedicated to him, that to my ears didn’t ! Lettre Encore is very short and is very Latin in style, and pleasantly harmonised with some great moments. The final Libre Sonatine consists of three movements, India, Largo and Fuoco, and again is a complex but involving work that again sounds utterly like Dyens in its complex but engrossing style with its continuously changing elements, in the way that only he can do.

This is a beautifully played set of pieces that really show off firstly just how varied a writer Dyens was, but also how fabulous a player Elena Papandreou is.

Chris Dumigan

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