Classical CD Reviews

KARAINDROU: “Concert in Athens” = Excerpts from various works – Kim Kashkashian, viola/ Jan Garbarek, tenor saxophone/ Vangelis Christopoulos, oboe/ Eleni Karaindrou, piano/Camerata Orch./Alexandros Myrat – ECM New Series

Beautiful music; so much better than just “film scores.”

Published on December 23, 2013

KARAINDROU: “Concert in Athens” = Excerpts from various works – Kim Kashkashian, viola/ Jan Garbarek, tenor saxophone/ Vangelis Christopoulos, oboe/ Eleni Karaindrou, piano/Camerata Orch./Alexandros Myrat – ECM New Series

ELENI KARAINDROU: “Concert in Athens” = Excerpts from various works – Kim Kashkashian, viola/ Jan Garbarek, tenor saxophone/ Vangelis Christopoulos, oboe/ Eleni Karaindrou, piano/Camerata Orch./Alexandros Myrat – ECM New Series 2220 4764984, 54:18 (3/5/13) [Distr. by Universal] ****:

I have followed the music of Eleni Karaindrou for a long time now and loved every minute, going to back when I first discovered her atmospheric film score to Theo Angelopoulos’ Ulysses’ Gaze. In fact, I admit that her music caused me to go seek out the movie itself (and again, Eternity and a Day). There are not too many composers whose music alone will cause me to want to see a film for which they have written the score, but Karaindrou is one of those.

One of the main reasons her music is so atmospheric and attractive is due to her decades-long collaboration with the three principle soloists in this collection: Kim Kashkashian, violist; Jan Garbarek, saxophonist; and Vangelis Christopoulos, oboist, are three world class performers blessed with wonderful tone and able to convey any mood. Karaindrou takes full advantage of their appreciable talents. I do not know Christopoulos outside of these scores but Jan Garbarek is a well known jazz saxophonist and Kim Kashkashian has also done a lot of concert hall contemporary music for a wide range of composers.

This beautifully engineered and packaged recording is of a live concert of extracts from some of Karaindrou’s many film and stage scores, played at the Megaron, Athens, Concert Hall in November 2010.

Many of the scores I am most familiar with are present (Ulysses’ Gaze, Eternity and a Day, The Beekeeper). However, there are stage play scores for well-known American masterworks, like Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?; all from Greek productions. Each extract is an attractive and compelling experience. Eleni’s music conjures up everything from a smoky lounge to a rainy, battered cityscape to a vast countryside.

As I mentioned, I am already a big fan; but it is probably an unfortunate reality that Karaindrou and her music may never get a live show in the United States and—unless, you are a fan of European “art-house” cinema—you have probably never heard of her. Here is a perfect opportunity to hear this stark, beautiful, frequently sensual music for yourself. I also hold ECM and CEO/Artistic Director Manfred Eicher in highest esteem. I have many, many of his more classical albums in my collection including the breakthrough Tabula Rasa by Arvo Part and Steve Reich’s Music for Eighteen Musicians (not to mention all the Eleni Karaindrou releases.)

I will keep hoping to hear Karaindrou’s music live – in a concert just like this – once. I guess I’ll have to go to Greece. It’s on my “list” anyway!

—Daniel Coombs




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