Effie Agrafioti - Sounds From The Drawer

(Irida 027)

Works for solo piano performed by Efi Agrafioti

“Efi Agrafioti presents an original, dynamic, particularly important idea for a record, this time for the promotion of Greek music, in the midst of a winter which is proving itself difficult and hostile for the artistic family. Twenty-two captivating compositions, unknown to a large extent, which lead us through the history of music from 1760 to 2020."...

[...] "Her playing throughout the album is natural and spontaneous throughout, virtuosic without ever relying on skill alone. The modern, the romantic, the classical are in constant communication, bringing out the beauty of all of the differing musical styles. The fact that the order of the works in the program follows the date of the composition of each work, not the chronology of the composer's birth makes for a very cohesive listening experience.The nine female composers surprise us with the power of their talent and the skill of their writing. The unsurpassed Rena Kyriakou, one of the world-renowned piano giants, was a great composer of rare virtues. Efi Agrafioti plays three of her works on cd. They are inspiring compositions of a mature and thoughtful teenager, evocatively played!

Sofia Doudou was the wife of the famous German architect Ernest Ziller to whom Athens owes many elegant buildings. His wife's diploma is signed by Liszt. She was the first classical piano teacher in Athens.
We became acquainted with Vivienne Lambellet’s work through the double cd “Greek Muse”, inwhich soprano Myrsini Margariti and Efi Agrafioti introduced us to songs by women composers last year. We must emphasize that this double disc traveled around the world. On this solo piano cd, we hear another impressive piece for piano by Lambelet. Through "Greek Muse" we were also introduced to the music of Mario Foskarina-Damaschino, who is also - with a solo track - again present on the new album of the distinguished soloist. Among the women of the cd, the well-known in European composer Kalliopi Tsoupaki stands out. Her composition is an internal conversation, an effort on the keyboard to overcome the shock of confinement, in last year's first psychological shock of the coronavirus. The title is brilliant: Meeting Point. Esmeralda Gardeev-Athanassiou is also an interesting composer of Greek origin. She is introduced to us. Why not; Here is another nice moment of the cd!
Going far back in time, we meet Felix Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny, who when she was little was considered a more gifted musician than her brother. According to the principles of her family and beyond, at the age of 14 she was certainly allowed learn music, to assist in the shaping of her character, but afterwards she had to stop music and be trained to become a good wife and mother. Her brother Felix was permitted to choose a carred in music, since he was a boy. Although delayed, Fanny's work is starting to receive recognition during the 50-60 years. The effort to spread this recognition of course continues.

We are also treated to a breathtakingly skillful piece by world-renowned female composer Sofia Gubaidulina. The American composer Vivian Fine, although very prolific, has only been recognized by a small and select audience for the last twenty years and thanks to them her works are being played. We hear her on cd painting memories from the blue Aegean Sea transforming harmonies on the piano, with a vehicle of Efi Agrafioti’s fingers, which can make passages of great technical difficulty seem like something simple. The composer describes with modern harmonies and special use of the pedal the east and the west, the welcome breeze, the colors of the sea and the sky, the splash of the waves, the joy of the summer landscape that remain in her memory.

Among the composers on the cd we are introduced to two modern Greeks, seriously educated in music, but who became known for their work in popular music, Vassilis Bakopoulos from the famous Forminx and Alkis Papadopoulos from the band Pyx Lax (the information was given to me by Mrs. Agrafioti). Here is another nice - or rather - very nice moment to listen to!

Walter Gieseking, a leading classical pianist of the first half of the twentieth century, surprises us with a smiling fox trot! Friedrich Nietzsche, who famously said "without music, life is a mistake", gives us an introverted short melodic piece, a cry of loneliness and anguish which is also reveals a stark beauty. Richard Strauss is not known for his solo piano music, but here we hear a wonderful daydream that excites our imagination from the first moment. On the cd we also hear music by the well-known composers Albeniz, Bridge, Villa Lobos, Rautavaara, Nikos Skalkotas and, by much older composers, John Field and Antonio Soler.An inspiring, enjoyable walk through musical beauty, presented by a musician with an admirable, consistent and successful path in the concert space, who for a large part of her career moved unexpectedly, freely, looking for and playing music always interesting, connecting in a wonderful way in her programs works known to the general public with works completely unknown. Efi Agrafioti 's successful efforts - teaching, concert and writing - around issues of promotion and promotion of Greek music outside Greece, complete her personality and her journey from 1975 until today. This cd is welcomed with the hope for more to follow, in order to discover more musical works that are patiently waiting to be released."


Text by Günter Swaab

Translated from German