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12:18 PM 13th November 2021
arts

Skipton Music Goes Electric!

Lotte Betts-Dean and the guitarist Dimitris Soukaras
Lotte Betts-Dean and the guitarist Dimitris Soukaras
Skipton Music continued its 2021-22 season with an “electrifying” concert by the mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean and the guitarist Dimitris Soukaras.

The potential problems of balance for this slightly uncommon combination were solved by some discrete amplification – we think this is a first for Skipton Music! This had the added bonus of allowing us to appreciate the wonderful range of sounds which Dimitris was able to draw from his instrument, from percussive thumps to delicate harmonics to the ravishing effect of brushing the strings with his fingertips.

Lotte too brought great versatility to the duo’s very varied programme, starting with the agile and stylish ornamentation of three songs by the renaissance lutenist John Dowland, and ending with the brassy timbres of Brazilian bossa nova.

In such a wide-ranging programme everyone will have had their favourites. I particularly enjoyed the duo’s wistful rendering of “The girl from Ipanema” and the two Debussy songs, with Debussy’s ravishing piano part skillfully transcribed for guitar and played by Dimitris with haunting delicacy.

But for me the revelation of the evening was the group of pieces by contemporary Greek composers, in particular the UK première (another first for Skipton Music?) of the “Haiku” by Philippos Tsalahouris. This is an evocative and subtle setting of short poems in Greek by the composer himself, and exploits (in his words) “the extremely intimate relationship beween the guitar and the voice..”

After this beautiful but intense piece the duo finished this Greek group with a simpler but equally haunting melody “The road of dreams” by Manos Hadjidakis.

I’m sure all those who went to this captivating concert will have had sweet dreams for days afterwards!

This review was written by Charles Dobson