The John E. Marlow Guitar Series listeners were treated last Saturday, the 19th, to a rare talent in the world of classical guitar. Dimitris Kotronakis demonstrated just how awesome this instrument can be. From the opening transcription of the Bach Chaconne in D minor (can you even imagine it arranged for guitar?) to the closing work, Raphael Fays’, Dans Yeux of Michelle and Romantic Voyage, this artist wowed devotees with technique that can only be described as Paganiniesque.
How many remember that Paganinni, himself, started out playing the eight-stringed mandolin at the age of five? It’s easy to see how like-musicians are inclined to tackle fantastically difficult music on its six-stringed cousin. In Dimitris’ capable hands, the guitar took on a life that so astonished his audience he received two standing ovations: One at intermission and at program’s end.
Mr. Kotronakis’ Greek roots, too, have clearly influenced his approach to his instrument. The lighting speed style of bouzouki playing was easily recognized through his fingering in a way most guitarists could never conceive of trying. In the two pieces by the Greek composer Thanassis Moraitis, Dimitris played with the soul of his country and the sensitivity of a true artists. Pyrotechnic passages were balanced by subtle, tender, heart-touching interpretations of lyrical phrases that stopped this listener to attend. There were few measures (e.g., in the Paganini Caprices– again, his own transcription) where the music ran a bit ahead of his playing, but that did not dim the overall impact of hearing something especially unique and winning.
We look forward to having Mr. Kotronakis back to the Marlow Series soon.
— Deborah Drayer (Board Member)