Charis Dimaras - Piano music by Dimitri Mitropoulos and Yorgo Sicilianos was chosen to be released in 2010 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Greek-American conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos’ death. The album contains a performance of Mitropoulos’ Greek Sonata by acclaimed pianist Charis Dimaras, which is also the first time the sonata is released on CD worldwide.
This production was made possible thanks to the generous technical and financial support from the Hellenic University Club of Southern California and the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and with the kind assistance of Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, where D. Mitropoulos’ archives are preserved. Dr. Dimaras chose to perform Mitropoulos’ Greek Sonata as well as Eight Children’s Miniatures (Op. 23) by Yorgo Sicilianos as part of his constant efforts to further promote the work of acclaimed Greek composers.
The CD will be available for purchace online form cdbaby.com from Friday, November 26th.
Audio samples are available at the bottom of this page, click on the 'play' button to listen.
Dimitri Mitropoulos - Greek Sonata
Long before establishing himself worldwide as a conductor of genius, Dimitri Mitropoulos had more than dabbled in composition. His extensi
ve compositional output over a 25-year period (1912-37) includes a full-scale opera,
Soeur Béatrice, orchestral works, songs, chambe
r music and piano music. Among the 13 works written for piano, the Greek Sonata is the
longest and most ambitious. The Sonata was completed on October 15th, 1920 when Mitropoulos was twenty four years old. The work is divided into four, distinct movements
and follows the brilliant pianistic writing of Liszt’s Sonata in b minor, though it easily surpasses its famous predecessor in scope and duration: A 45-minute-long virtuoso piece, its first movement alone lasts over 16 minutes. Its texture often sounds as if it was orchestrally
conceived: “it is a polychrome composition, intense and explosively personal in its style, which only occasionally suggests the world of atonal music, while firmly based both on Greek folk music, as well as on the great romantic tradition”.
Yorgo Sicilianos – Eight Children’s Miniatures
Eight Children’s Miniatures, op. 23, was written in 1963 (a version for orchestra, op. 23a, followed in 1965) for Sicilianos’ then three-year-old son (to whom it is dedicated) and belong to the middle period of the composer’s work. At first it was meant for a private audience; later, at the initiative of pianist and close friend of the composer Popi Eustratiadi, it began to be performed publicly and it is now one of Sicilianos’ most popular and most performed works. At that time, Sicilianos had moved to a second period of musical quest, revolving around contemporary trends in music and had started assimilating elements from serialism (See Concerto for cello and orchestra, op. 22 and Variations on Four Rhythmical Patterns, op. 24, 1963). However, in Miniatures the composer seemed to be leaving aside for a while the problems of composition and its techniques which he was concerned with at that time with
the motivation to make a series of childhood scenes associated with the life of his son.
Greek concert pianist, Charis Dimaras, has presented numerous solo recitals, has collaborated in chamber music concerts and has been featured as soloist with orchestras throughout Europe, Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Canada and the USA. He has been the recipient of several awards (such as, the British Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Award, the Alexandros S. Onasis Beneficiary Foundation Scholarship and the International Richard-Wagner- Foundation Scholarship) and has won top prizes in several competitions (such as, the 1st prize at the “Conferenza Musicale Mediterannea” piano competition in Palermo/Sicily, as well as 1st prizes in the “Holland Music Sessions” chamber music contest at the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and the “Artists International” and “Joy in Singing”
chamber music contests in New York City). Elsewhere, he has been featured on NY’s WQXR, on several Dutch, Italian and Greek radio stations and on Greek national TV and has recorded works by Franck, Bartók, Prokofiev & Stravinsky.