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Alexandros Kapelis > A Keyboard Odyssey March 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.

Alexandros Kapelis played a program at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater on Saturday night that explored the influence of Greek myth on the piano literature, but also included non-mythological works by Greek composers and a showcase for the Peruvian-Greek pianist himself.

The combination made a fine commemoration of the eve of Greece’s Independence for both the Greek Embassy, which sponsored the concert, and Saturday’s enthusiastically pro-Greece crowd.

The two Greek works had instant appeal. Yannis Konstantinidis’s “Eight Dances From the Greek Isles” set catchy melodies in ancient Hellenic modes, leavening blurry impressionist harmonies with insistent rhythms. Manos Hadjidakis’s “For a Little White Seashell” featured witty and sometimes rambunctious music, especially the “Conversation with Sergei Prokofiev” set to the rhythms of popular Greek dances. Kapelis dispatched both with elan and a welcome light touch.

In the realm of myth, Kapelis found the full measure of the tragic drama in Muzio Clementi’s Sonata in G Minor, Op. 50, No. 3, which depicts the abandonment of Dido, but didn’t quite have all of its vast bounty of notes under his fingers. But Kapelis threw himself forcefully into the wild raptures of Claude Debussy’s “The Joyous Island”, indirectly inspired by Aphrodite’s island, and expertly limned the classical poise of his “Dancers of Delphi.” Kapelis really shone, though, in the non-mythological “Etudes-Tableaux,” Op. 33, of Sergei Rachmaninov.

Three myth-oriented miniatures by Jean Philippe Rameau also received well-turned performances, including a scintillating chase from “Les Cyclopes.”

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