ANDREAS MAKRIS (1930-2005): Aegean Festival Overture, Trilogy, Moto Perpetuo, Hellenic Odyssey, Antithesis, Chromatokinesis, Variations and Song, Fanfare Alexander.
Catalogue Number: 10R063
Label: Edition Lilac
Description: Appealing, high energy orchestral showpieces by a Greek-born composer who had a long and distinguished career as a violinist in a number of American orchestras - most notably the National Symphony, where he was also composer-in-residence for a decade. The works all sound like extrovert curtain-raisers to be played as celebrations of the skill of the commissioning orchestras, as all revel in concerto-for-orchestra-like instrumental virtuosity born of deep familiarity with the workings of the orchestra from an insider's perspective. The hugely appealing Aegean Overture has taken on a wider life in wind-band arrangement (though the original is more interesting, with the composer's lively orchestration). Like most of the pieces here, the Overture reflects the composer's heritage with suggestions of Greek (or at least Mediterranean or something south and east of central Europe) folk dance and melody in its rhythms and harmony - long, sinuous, modally inflected melodies abound. The most 'serious' piece is the Variations, which add Bartókian pungency to the tonal harmony, and some unexpectedly dissonant outbursts, before ending up with a lively set of elaborations of a folk-like tune. The pieces are nicely varied, though a clever formula reveals itself after a while - a big, attention-grabbing dramatic opening, which fails to take itself too seriously and soon gives way to a festive dance with sensuous, sun-drenched lyrical interludes. This clearly brought much pleasure to audiences during the composer's orchestral tenure, as will this disc. Includes a bonus DVD with a composer documentary, digital scores of the works and HD audio files. London Symphony Orchestra; Predrag Gosta.