A woman is walking alone through an abandoned city. She approaches the forbidden zone and tries to pass through. Everywhere the Morning Patrol and deceptive traps are watching. The city itself is alive but uncontrolled. Computer voices warn non-existing inhabitants to leave the city. The communication system works… cinemas show films… classic faces of a past era flash across TV screens. She is confronted by one of the few survivors guarding the city.
There is a large part of Skalkottas's oeuvre that is seriously dissonant. It made quite an impact in the 1960s and 1970s in the UK when revived on the BBC by Dorati and others. Separate from that strain this Greek composer also wrote in a grateful lyrical idiom in touch with the song and dance of his homeland. This can be heard in his large collection of Greek Dances. It is this raw, dancing and whirling energy that we catch in the 45 minute ballet suite of The Sea, written in 1948 …….Rob Barnett @ musicweb-international.com
Skalkottas's music still has the power to astonish. The Violin Concerto is awesomely concentrated and, for 1938, extremely 'advanced'. He uses twelve-tone method freely and leavens this with capricious Stravinskian chatter in the final movement of three. If you started your exploration of Skalkottas with the Bis-Christodoulou-BBCSO CD of the complete Greek Dances you will find little echo of that here……Rob Barnett @ musicweb-international.com
This CD is a good one with which to approach Nikos Skalkottas (1904-49) if his music is unfamiliar to you and you prefer orchestral to instrumental music. Unless you are totally allergic to serial music I would also recommend playing the three works in reverse order for an exciting plunge into the deep end!……Peter Grahame Woolf @ musicweb-international.com
In Nikos Skalkottas' massive fourth string quartet (1940), this CD has some of the most dense and eventful music you are ever likely to encounter. It is a tough nut to crack, having a quality of superabundant energy and inventiveness which is, by turns, invigorating, exhilarating and finally exhausting…..This CD does not disappoint. The players, led by Georgios Demertzis, obviously have this, at times severe, dodecaphonic music in their bones and are undaunted by its complexity……Peter Grahame Woolf @ musicweb-international.com
BIS’s advocacy of Nikos Skalkottas continues with another violin-centered disc. As with the other releases in this series, it makes for a stimulating listening session. Skalkottas’ fans already know that his musical thoughts often whirl by well before his audience has time to process what’s going on; as newcomers will find out, he crams a lot into a tiny space. (Happily, his music bears repeat listening.) A case in point is the opening Allegro Vivo of the Duo for Violin and Viola, which lasts all of a minute and change (and the rest of the piece isn’t much longer)……..classicstoday.com
Sixty-one years after its completion, Skalkottas' Musik für Klavier -the overal title of his 32 Piano Pieces - can assume its place among the major piano cycles of the 20th century. Formidably difficult technically, its
apparently disparate content - there is not the conceptual focus of, say, Messiaen's Vingt regagds sur l'enfant Jésus - may have militated against its wider recognition. So itis a tribute to Nikolaos Samaltanos, in this first complete recording, that he projects the work as an integral entity. and as the compendium of mid-century pianism that the composer intended……….A timely release urgently recommended.Richard Whitehouse [Grammophone november 2001]
In this experimental film, shot entirely within one room, a woman who waits in prison for her execution, dreams, masturbates, somehow kills her executioner, and survives.