Dimitris Kotronakis Echomythia Review

By: Brad Conroy

Echomythia

Echomythia

Echomythia is the latest recording by Greek guitarist Dimitris Kotronakis, and is perhaps one of the most dazzling guitar recordings in recent memory. The original title for the CD was “Jazz, Latin, and Brazilian vibes for the guitar,” which perfectly describes the focus of the album on lesser known works and transcriptions from composers like Django Reinhardt, Raphael Fays, Augustin Barrios, Stepan Rak, Roland Dyens, Vojislav Ivanonvic, and Paco De Lucia to name a few.

The music on Echomythia captures a wide range of musical styles and moods, and when mixed with Kotronakis’ superb technique, raw power, and subtle elegance makes this a very exciting classical guitar album.

The album opens with two pieces by Raphael Fays; “Romantique Voyage” and “Dans les yeux de Michele.” Both are transcriptions that Kotronakis has made from the “raw materials” of Fay’s jazz trio. Fay’s music is very much in the Django Reinhardt style as it mixes elements from classical music with swinging jazz rhythms and harmonies.

It’s hard to believe that it’s just Kotronakis playing these pieces because they sound so full and busy, as if there were a group of guitarists playing. Kotronakis’ performance is dazzling as he pulls off incredibly fast scale passages, and at times, while keeping the accompaniment going.

Kotronakis shows off his more subtle side as he delves into the delicate and traditional sounding classical guitar repertoire with two pieces by the Bosnian composer Vojislav Ivanovic. “Café No. 2, Tear Prelude” is a light and expressive piece where Kotronakis perfectly blends the melody and accompaniment texture, demonstrating how solid his tone and expression can be.

“Café No. 5, Nostalgia” is a piece in tremolo and is exquisitely beautiful. Kotronakis brings it to life with his vibrant use of dynamics and fast and even tremolo, making the melody rise and fall in haunting fashion.

On the more modern end of the spectrum, Kotronakis brilliantly performs “Tuhu” by Roland Dyens, which showcases his trademark percussive tapping and rhythms. All of which Kotronakis pull of with ease and with an unmatched fire.

“Tempo di Rubato” by notable compose Stepan Rak is the perfect display of the virtuosic technique that Kotronakis has developed. The whole movement is played with the left hand alone and features ripping scale lines and slurs, culminating in the finale “Prestissimo” which is a fast and rhythmically exciting piece.

One of the main highlights on Echomythia is the flamenco piece “La Cueva del Gato,” which was written by perhaps the most famous guitarist of the 20th century, Paco De Lucia. Kotronakis performs this piece with grace, passion, and all the fire of a flamenco guitarist; yet his classical technique allows him to sound very clean as he pulls of some of the fastest and most exciting scale line imaginable.

Other highlights on Echomythia are two works by Augustin Barrios, four pieces by Marco Pereira, and the breathtaking closer, with perhaps the fastest and cleanest guitar version recorded, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.”

Echomythia is a superb guitar album that features some of the most diverse and exciting music available for the classical guitar. Kotronakis performs with perhaps one of the most virtuosic techniques in modern times, and a deep passion that make him, and this album, a stand out in the classical guitar world.

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