New CD/Download from MELISM Records ” Nikos Skalkottas World Premiere Recordings 1949-2019″

New CD/Download – Press Release

Nikos Skalkottas – World Premiere Recordings 1949-209
Performed by Little Symphony Orchestra of San Francisco cond. Gregory Miller; Angelica Cathariou; Tota Economos; Nina Pissareva-Zymbalist; Nikolaos Samaltanos; Christophe Sirodeau
Catalogue Number: MLSCD025 Barcode: 3770004972371
Physical Distribution: Proper (UK); Socadisc (France); Tokyo M-Plus (Japan); Opera CD (Greece) RoW: Naxos
Release Date: Available Now in UK, France, Greece, Japan and May 1st everywhere else

Suite (1929) for violin and piano AK 23 [version for violin and piano by the composer] – Nina Pissareva-Zymbalist (vln) and Nikolaos Samaltanos (pno) Recorded 2019; Three Songs for Mezzo Soprano and Piano: On The Beach (1946) AK 89a/The Music (1946) AK 89/Once Upon a Time (1938) AK 81 – Angelica Cathariou (mezzo) and Nikolaos Samaltanos (pno) – Recorded 2017; The Return of Odysseus (1944-45, 1949) AK 5a Overture for Great Orchestra [original adaptation for two pianos by the composer] – Nikolaos Samaltanos & Christophe Sirodeau – Recorded 1994/Re-edited & mastered 2018; Twelve Greek Dances (1931-1949) AK 11 for orchestra [from the 36 cycle of dances] – Little Symphony Orchestra of San Francisco conducted by Gregory Miller – Recorded in 1957 – 1st release in real stereophonic sound; Sifneikos I (1946-47) (AK 11b) AK 76; Ipirotikos I (1946-47) (AK 11b) AK 76 [original adaptation for piano solo buy the composer] – Tota Economos (pno) – Recorded 1949 and is the first know recording of a Skalkottas work

Concept Overview

This album presents a selection of world premiere recordings of music by Nikos Skalkottas, the most important Greek composer of the first half of the 20th century. Skalkottas was described by the famous critic and musicologist, Hans Keller, as one of the four “S” of modern music, together with Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Shostakovich.

Presented on this CD is the first ever recording of a work by Skalkottas, the two Greek Dances recorded in 1949 in Paris by the pianist Tota Economos in the French Radio studios. The famous recording of the Twelve Greek Dances (from the 36 Dances cycle) was made in 1957 – until now only available as a monophonic recording and now released here in real stereophonic sound.  The Suite for Orchestra was composed in 1929 in Berlin – but the original score was lost in the composer’s hasty departure from Berlin in 1933. This version is using a recently found score in America and now published by the Hellenic Music Center in Athens (which possesses the totality of Skalkottas’s manuscripts). The Return of Odysseus, for two pianos was recorded in 1994 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory – the version here uses a revised score from 1995.

These recordings feature Angelica Cathariou, Nina Pissareva-Zymbalist, Nikolaos Samaltanos and Christophe Sirodeau have all taken an important part in the first complete recording of Skalkottas’s music, which has been universally acclaimed.

Artist Biographies

Nina Pissareva-Zymbalist studied at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.  in the classes of Masters Andrei Korsakov, Yuri Tortchinsky and Zoria Shikmourzayeva. She was the interpreter of the world premiere of the First Violin Sonata by the famous pianist and composer Samuil Feinberg (1890-1962). Alongside the violinist Eichii Chijiiwa, she recorded for the Scandinavian label BIS Records “the Concerto for two violins” by Skalkottas. She is involved with numerous chamber ensembles and works regularly in various orchestras such as the Paris Opera orchestra, the Ile-de-France national orchestra, the Rouen Opera. Since 2006, she has held a position as a tutti violin with the Marseille Philharmonic Orchestra.

Nikolaos Samaltanos was born in Athens and studied the piano under Ivi Deligianni, Aliki Vatikioti, Evgeni Malinin and György Sebök. His name is associated with the presentation of the music of Nikos Skalkottas in concert; his recordings on BIS include critically acclaimed accounts Skalkottas’s solo piano works and a disc of Skalkottas songs that won the Gerald Moore Prize of the Académie Française du Disque Lyrique.

Athens-born mezzo soprano Angelica Cathariou received her piano soloist diploma and singing diploma with Honours, awarded unanimously, from the Athenaeum-Maria Callas Conservatory. With a scholarship from the Onassis Foundation she pursued further studies in Italy, under the guidance of Arrigo Pola and Renata Scotto, and in the United Kingdom.

She sings a wide range of operatic and symphonic repertoire and has appeared at prestigious venues around the world with many world class orchestras and conductors. She also performs extensively in numerous concerts of contemporary music. Her recordings include the world premiere of N. Skalkottas’s 16 melodies (BIS), De Falla’s El Amor Brujo (Naïve), Schubert’s Messe Es-Dur, works by M. Adamis (Naxos) and Clotilde Rosa as well as the music of Alexandre Desplat for the film 11’09″01 New York September 11.

Christophe Sirodeau (born 1970 in Paris) is a French pianist and composer. As a pianist, he studied with at the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory. Since making his performing debut in 1982, he has performed a broad variety of repertoire in concert, recordings and broadcasts, specialising somewhat in the presentation of rarely heard music (Ullmann, Feinberg, Skalkottas, Kapralova for example). In the 1990s he undertook significant scholarly and performing work concerning Samuil Feinberg which resulted in the composer’s 1st Piano Concerto and a number of unpublished songs and piano works coming to light and receiving their first performances and recordings since the 1930s, and in some cases, their world premieres.

Gregory Millar (1925-2002) came to real prominence when hired by the Kalamazoo Symphony as Conductor and Music Director in 1961. He was already known in California and New York music circles as a conductor, an operatic tenor, and a violinist. He had been a musical polyglot all his life, taking up the violin at age 5.  Gregory supported himself through school and college by playing sax, clarinet, trumpet and bass in various bands. Born and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, Gregory was the son of a Greek immigrant  father, and a French-Canadian mother who was a pianist, and Millar’s first teacher. A land mine incident ended Gregory’s World War II service in the Canadian army, he returned to school, and his first love – music. At the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Millar organized the university’s first symphony orchestra.

It was in 1945 that conducting superstar Leonard Bernstein was in Vancouver and saw him conduct. He encouraged Millar to go into music as a career.   Bernstein later remarked in a TIME Magazine article in 1960, that he could “smell a conductor” when asked about his meeting Millar for the first time.  After a post as assistant conductor in St. Louis, he went to San Francisco in the early 1950s, and started the San Francisco Little Symphony.  Gregory Millar’s next career move was to New York City to become one of three assistant conductors to Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1960.  Millar was in the audience in Carnegie Hall one evening when Maestro Bernstein became ill.  Millar was summoned backstage to be handed the baton from Bernstein, requesting that he conduct Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, the final piece on the program.

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