Saturday, February 25th brought us another international guitarist celeb marking the fourth of just six features on this season’s Marlow Guitar Series. It’s always so nice to travel to foreign lands without having to leave one’s own back yard and Saturday’s adventure to Greece (for much of the program) transported us to a realm of ancient classical poetry updated for modern ears.
Tarrega was a traditional warm up hailing from the Iberian peninsula with Endecha y Oremus and Antigoni Goni, our artist of the evening, put her Andrea Tacchi guitar to good use in her presentation of the work. Wonderful sounding instruments like Spanish and Latin music and for good reason: the maker, a Florentine by birth, began making guitars at the young age of fifteen and sought out the most prominent Latin and Spanish luthiers to establish himself as one of the preeminent craftsman of today. It’s no wonder Tarrega’s work hums and strums so naturally on these fine acoustic instruments. But, that’s to be expected.
What was not anticipated was the application of Ms. Goni’s instrument to the more esoteric work by Dusan Bogdanovic . Carved out of a two thousand year old ancient Greek column, Bogdanovic’s Hymn to the Muse takes its theme from the Seikilos epitaph, the oldest surviving complete musical composition known to date. The Epitaph is inscribed: “I am a portrait in stone. I was put here by Seikilos, where I remain forever, the symbol of timeless remembrance.” And, the poetic text with music is inscribed: “While you live, shine. Have no grief at all. Life exists only for a short while and time demands an end.” This original melody is re-imagined by Bodganovic in a blend of pythagorian and modern dissonant tonality, the setting somewhat haunting yet accessible. It’s about loss and living beyond to one’s own end. Fitting advice from the ancients, as the Greeks so well must have lived it. This work, having been dedicated to Ms. Goni, was a deeply personal interpretation as was her presentation of Mikis Theodorakis’ trio of pieces alternately using the guitar as both a percussion and string instrument. Just goes to show how interesting listening outside the box can be, and Ms. Goni demonstrated that for us on Saturday.
See you next time, when Margarita Escarpa joins Marlow again for what is sure to be a well attended evening. Don’t delay. Buy your tickets today! www.marlowguitar.org