ResMusica September 2012: "Nikita Koshkin, une découverte."; American Record Guide, 11-12 2012: “Soloist Papandreou plays magnificently, and her colleagues are just as fine… The music is a treasure, the performances magnificent. Get this one.”
For some fifteen years, the Russian composer Nikita Koshkin and the Greek guitarist Elena Papandreou have enjoyed a rewarding collaboration, with solo pieces such as the Guitar Sonata and Kyparissous, both from 1998, among the earliest fruits. Dedicated to Elena Papandreou, these works formed part of a solo recital released by her in 2003, along with what probably remains the composer’s most famous piece: Usher Waltz. Koshkin’s music typically combines drama with humour and parody, and regularly includes references to legends and fairy-tales, as well as to music of other periods or genres. He often uses extended playing techniques achieving avant-garde effects, but is also inspired by popular music. On the present disc, all four works are world première recordings, and three of them were written with Elena Papandreou in mind. The Megaron Concerto was the result of a commission from the Athens concert hall which has given its name to the concerto – a commission which inspired Koshkin to explore the concept of a dialogue between ancient Greek music and later Western music. But as the composer himself willingly concedes, his Russian roots are also discernible, in a certain depth and dramatic development which in this piece, and in the large-scale Quintet, is reinforced through the use of a string ensemble. The most recent composition in the programme is the duo L’istesso tempo from 2010, commissioned in order to supplement the limited repertoire for cello and guitar and also to accompany the other works on this recording. Its title translates as ‘the same tempo’, reflecting the circumstance that despite changes of metre and perceived changes of tempo, the duration of a quaver remains constant throughout the piece. The disc closes with Polka Papandreou, a brief and light-hearted piece performed here in a version for guitar and string orchestra.