Concert in Athens

Until now, I think I’ve managed to avoid using the word “gorgeous” to describe any of the hundreds of albums I’ve reviewed. But I just can’t resist applying the word to this new album by Eleni Karaindrou. Accompanied here by the Camerata String Orchestra, and with help from Kim Kashkashian on viola, Jan Garbarek on tenor sax, and Vangelis Christopoulous on oboe, Karaindrou performs 18 of her compositions, each of them singularly beautiful. She blends waltz and tango rhythms to supplement her rich musical imagination, creating tone poems of exquisite beauty. Her deft piano playing could melt a stone heart, especially on pieces like “Eternity Theme,” or the sadly beautiful “Requiem for Willy Loman.” “Waltz of the Rain” is a charming little piece, evoking images of the way raindrops strike wet pavement. On “Adagio for Saxophone,” Garbarek floats his soulful sax over the supporting string orchestra, and Kashkashian’s viola on “Dance” is—here’s that word again—gorgeous. This is a beautiful album. What a night it must have been when the musicians came together to perform it for that magical concert in Athens, back in 2010.