Zorba’s Dance: Greek Music for Piano – Dino Mastroyiannis, piano – MSR Classics 1381, 77:28 [Distr. by Albany] ***1/2:
You don’t often think of Greece when thinking of classical music, but its influence, both in composition and in instrumental music is hardly negligible. On this recording, noted Greek pianist Dino Mastroyiannis, who has worked heavily with legendary composer Mikis Theodorakis, takes us on a tour of some of the best of modern Greek piano music. Quite frankly some of it like the 44 Dances of Yiannis Konstantnides and the Ionian Suite and For a Little White Seashell of Manos Hadjidakis sound a little derivative, even if the former is intended for younger players. But then one also comes across the magnificent Nocturne by Manolis Kalomiris and the recent Waiting for the Aeroplane by John Psathas, along with Manos Hadjidakis’s Six Folklore Paintings and you begin to see what has been accomplished by Greek artists since around 1900.
So while I can quibble with one or two of the selections as being a little weak-kneed for this recording, overall the effect is quite entertaining and instructive. Dino Mastroyiannis plays with obvious authority in this music, persistent idiomatic awareness, and with a rich and broadly orchestral tone when called for. If the concept interests you, no need to delay.
1. Konstantinidis: 44 Miniatures on Original Greek Folk-Tunes, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 16
2. Kalomiris: Nocturne
3. Hadjidakis: Ionian Suite (excerpts)
4. Hadjidakis: For A Little White Seashell
5. Konstantinidis: Eight Greek Island Dances
6. Theodorakis: Prelude No.1
7. Theodorakis: Finale Andante Mosso (From Petite Suite)
8. Psathas: Waiting For The Aeroplane
9. Konstantinidis: 22 Dodecanesian Songs and Dances (excerpts)
10. Hadjidakis: Six Folklore Paintings (excerpts)
11. Theodorakis: Zorba‘s Dance
— Steven Ritter