Stathis Mavrommatis - Saxophone Soloist

PRESS RELEASE “Μusic for Saxophone, Piano & Percussion by Greek Composers”

Stathis Mavrommatis’ (alto και soprano saxophone) and Christina Panteli’s (piano) cooperation was the fortunate occasion for eight well established contemporary Greek composers (M. I. Alexiades, N. Astrinides, D.Visvikis, E. Kokkoris, C. Lignos, S. Mazis , D. Nikolau and J. Papadatos) to join forces and compose music for these two excellent musicians, dedicating to them their work.

The end result is reflected on the collectible CD ( by ACROASIS records), under the title “Μusic for Saxophone, Piano & Percussion by Greek Composers”. This collective work constitutes an impressive musical mosaic, which involves both vivid Greek elements and western European musical characteristics, combined in a wonderful musical mix.

The CD’s opening piece is the melodious “Diptyche”, by composer and flute player E. Kokkoris. It is a musical piece inspired by Italian melodies, enriched with simple but condensed harmony, both in the first part and the allegro second part. In the “Trajectoire du Rêve” the saxophone’s melodious smoothness is discreetly accompanied by the piano, while in “Le ton d’ une journée” both instruments, although playing a different role each, manage to convey the feeling of parallel yet contrasting activities of everyday l

The “Pièce de Concert” οp 57, is a composition of the veteran composer and pianist Nikos Astrinides (b. 1921). The characteristic Greek sound of the composer is incessantly present throughout this piece. The ambiance is rather melancholic, though, due to its rhapsody form, while the major and minor mode alternate, keeping the listener’s interest very high. The technical and interpretative standards of this composition are remarkable.

The next composition is Demis Visvikis’ (b.1951) “Flèches d’or”. The composer lives and works in Paris, having composed an important number of piano, chamber music and orchestra works. The structure of the work follows the A-B-A form. The content reflects amazingly the title, sometimes through a minimalist mood, or a cascade of ideas, like a brain storming. The composer puts into value the interpretative and technical possibilities of the two instruments.

Konstantinos Lygnos (b. 1948) composes three pieces playing between different styles. “Air” is in the baroque style, “Valse” is inspired by modern Paris, and finally we listen to an exquisite “Tango”, with strong rhythm and full harmony. These pieces are written in a simple yet full of substance form.

The “Divertimento Giocoso” by Minas I. Alexiades (b. 1960) is a ten beat dance in tonal and modal style, inspired mainly by Greek urban folk music. The morphological development of the theme is impressive and very dense. It is highly entertaining, technically demanding in its execution and conception, giving a different note to the whole collection.

The “Five thoughts and feelings” by Spyros Mazis (b. 1957) shows clear references to jazz music, while the mathematic analogies used by the composer ascribe to the whole work a symmetrical musical rhythm. The five parts are rich in rhythm and modern harmonies. Original ideas, shared alternatively by the saxophone and the piano, support fully the work’s title.

Dimitri Nikolaou (b.1946), who has been living in Rome since 1967, and has composed several works for saxophone, is frequently inspired by the Mediterranean folk music’s rhythm and melody. Likewise, in “Two Original Greek Dances” Op.143, well-known themes are developed in a non-conventional way, through a musically demanding synthesis. The saxophone’s presence is impressive throughout the whole work, particularly in the cadenzas, along with the plethoric piano expression, conspiring for an impressive result. The overall impression is of original themes alongside with Greek traditional musical themes.

Last but not least, we have the inspiring “Danseuses Célestes” by J. Papadatos (b.1960), where the saxophone maintains its protagonist role, deploying its melodies through the alternatively discreet and dynamic percussion sound. The composer’s colorful and transcendental style provides the listener with the sensation of “swimming” in an ocean of sounds and lights.