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KATHIMERINI – The worlds that a classical guitar reveals by N. Vatopoulos

The worlds that a classical guitar reveals 

Research work conducted by guitarist Antonis Hatzinikolaou in British classical and contemporary repertoire.

By Nikos Vatopoulos

A Greek guitarist offering international audiences a purely British repertoire is not, of course, a routine case.

It is a remarkable event in itself  if we consider the specific “weight” of the project, the selection of the works included and the quality of the interpretation.

Antonis Hatzinikolaou the Greek musician who dived into the deep end of the contemporary repertoire for guitar focusing on British composers, it is not a simple case.

Apart from his British work ethic and methodical approach, Antonis Hatzinikolaou studied at Royal Academy of Music in London, and from early on showed interest towards the great British guitar-music tradition led by guitarist Julian Bream. Antonis Hatzinikolaou masters thesis was based on the famous piece Nocturnal written by Benjamin Britten for Julian Bream. Later he recorded it in 2006 and was awarded the Julian Bream prize from the hands of the famous maestro.

Through this long, ideological and aesthetic research process, the album, Music of Memory, which gets its name from the long emblematic composition of Nicholas Maw, comes as a “natural” consequence. What  matters most, is that Antonis Hatzinikolaou reveals a restless mind that opens a path of awakening and reconnecting with the classical works of the 20th Century’s guitar repertoire together with new composers, such as his colleague Joseph Atkins , who wrote Indian Summer (a composition of lustrous clarity), for Hatzinikolaou. The album is dedicated to Bayan Northcott, whose fascinating composition Fantasia for Guitar (1981-82), is included in the album and develops the compositional principle of “Fantasia”, as it appeared from the 18th century onwards. Northcott, 73 years old today and widely respected for his musical knowledge and writings, encouraged Antonis in this venture of British anthology. Within the CD booklet there is an interesting discussion between the two musicians.

The personality of British composer Nicholas Maw (1935-2009) seals a large section of the album. The “wavy” 20 minute long composition Music of Memory opens the album and indulges us almost hypnotically in a sea of ​​sound – a mental and sensual experience. Another composition by Maw, Little Suite for Guitar closes the compilation of Antonis Hatzinikolaou who interprets impressively, almost mystically, with dedication and great respect for the music. Deserving special mention is Canto for Guitar by John McCabe, which made me imagine galloping horses and drops of water. Positive reviews of this recording are published in the Classical Guitar Magazine and the BBC Music Magazine.

Nikos Vatopoulos – Kathimerini  (1Oth  August 2013)