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Eleftheria Kotzia returns to Derby,
and MIKE WHEELER listens


For this year's free recital for full subscribers to the Assembly Rooms concert season (Guildhall, Derby, UK, 1 October 2008), we had a return visit from guitarist Eleftheria Kotzia, who gave the first one three years ago.

Her programme was headed 'A Mediterranean Journey' and for the most part kept off the beaten track, beginning with music by two fellow-Greeks. There was a real, though restrained, sense of anger behind Mikis Theodorakis' Four Epitaphs, even when outwardly jolly. Evangelos Boudounis, a Greek composer of a later generation, dedicated his Spring songs to Kotzia, who grasped the opportunities offered to explore a wide range of tone-colour. A group of three pieces by Tárrega ended with the well-known Recuerdos de La Alhambra, a refreshingly poetic reading instead of the flashy display piece projected too often.

Albeniz's Asturias, the last of three Spanish pieces in the middle of the second half, similarly benefitted from a fairly steady tempo and a fine dynamic range. Before the Spanish group came Sylvie Bodorova's Gypsy Ballad, a big piece, ambitious in scope, with plenty of expressive variety. The recital ended with two pieces by the French guitarist-composer Roland Dyens, Tango en Skai, which takes on Piazzolla on his home ground very creditably, and 'Fuoco', a movement from his Libra sonatine, a punchy little number in which a variety of effects, including percussive ones, fall naturally into place as part of the musical argument. It got a performance of brilliantly focused energy.

Copyright © 11 October 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK



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