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Nikos Skalkottas - the Greek Bartok?

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:57 pm
by Febnyc
I've been intrigued by the BIS series on Nikos Skalkottas (1904-1949). His folk-laced modernism reminds me of Bartok - much of the same percussive sound, in all forms - orchestral, chamber, soloists.

Some of Skalkottas' works go beyond my tolerance - too thorny and bereft of any hint of a melody or theme. But, then, there are some superb discs in this set - presenting tonal, graceful music.

Two which I want to recommend are:

1. 36 Greek Dances - on two CDs, these works are very much in the Dvorak/Brahms Slovak/Hungarian Dances mold. Skalkottas' imagination and creativity are so strong that one can hear something new on every listen to these short (from one minute to about six minutes) pieces;

2. Ballet Music for Piano - these original piano scores are brilliant and so very tied to the Greek people. BIS has brought these hitherto unrecorded gems to life - the varying tempo and type of dances is enchanting.