Eleftheria Kotzia - Fuoco !
It’s discs like this that remind you just what a magical instrument the classical guitar can be. In this musical portrait of the Mediterranean region, Eleftheria Kotzia’s playing is so attractive on every front that your attention doesn’t waver for a moment. The disc opens with Dimitri Fampas’s Greek Suite No 1: a curious, hesitant dance in “The Land of the Centaurs”; a tsamikos folk dance of graceful intensity, replete with percussive effects and sul ponticello fanfares; the gently rippling “Ravines”; and another folk dance, a jolly syrtaki. The writing allows Kotzia to show off her impressive tonal range to its best advantage.
Nikos Mamangakis’s haunting Tremolo, recalling both the bouzouki and Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra, precedes Regino Sainz de la Maza’s Zapateado, which to my ears has never sounded so fluent and full of orchestral colour. Carlo Domeniconi’s Krysea Phorminx, written for Kotzia, has depth and mystery, almost making Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Tarantella seem more than usually lightweight – were it not for Kotzia’s humorous inflections.
Kotzia gets the tempo in Satie’s Gnossienne No 1 and the insouciance of Roussel’s Ségovia just right, while in Evangelos Boudounis’s Spring Songs, the melodies of which come from Theodorakis and Nikos Antypas, she brings the rock and blues elements to perfection, even contributing some vocals in the last of the three movements. Roland Dyens’s Villa-Lobos homage “Andantinostalgie” and “Fuoco” from the Libra Sonatine bring a superb disc to a close by neatly tying together the lyrical and the fiery.