“Melos” is the eagerly-awaited sequel to Anja Lechner’s and Vassilis Tsabropoulos’ album „Chants, Hymns and Dances“, issued in autumn 2004 to much critical and public acclaim. The focus there was on traditional Greek-Byzantine hymns and on melodies by the legendary spiritual mentor Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, newly arranged by Lechner and Tsabropoulos. Gurdjieff is also included on “Melos” but the emphasis has shifted to compositions by Tsabropoulos which recreate the traditional spirit in a modern albeit still highly melodious way. Their gentle musical flow is most varied, especially when the melodies open up in large improvisational sections. The two musicians, both of them accomplished soloists in classical music, are joined now by Italian jazz drummer and percussionist U.T. Gandhi who adds new colours and subtle pulsations.
“Melos” is a continuation of the work begun by German cellist Anja Lechner and Greek pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos on “Chants, Hymns and Dances” in 2004. That recording, with its cello/piano arrangements of G.I. Gurdjieff’s compositions, threw a fresh light on the music of the Greek-Armenian philosopher, effectively allowing it to breathe in new ways. The album was completed with music of Tsabropoulos, proposing a “polychromatic mosaic” based on fragments of Byzantine hymns. The programme met with both critical and popular success, made its way onto classical charts around the world, and Lechner and Tsabropoulos toured widely with it.
The new album again features compositions of Tsabropoulos and Gurdjieff, but recalibrates the ratio. This time the music of Tsabropoulos forms an arc into which three clearly-etched Gurdjieff pieces are set: “Tibetan Dance”, “Sayyid Dance” and “Reading From A Sacred Book”. The notion of Greece as a doorway to the orient is further explored, and Bzyantine hymns are again referenced, but there is more space for expressive playing.
Although Tsabropoulos and Lechner are, firstly, classical musicians, each has considerable experience with improvisation: already on the “Chants” project this facilitated deeper insights into Gurdjieff’s musical world (where pieces derived in part from folk and religious traditions were fixed in Thomas de Hartmann’s piano transcriptions). The logical next step is taken on “Melos”: Tsabropoulos’s strong, evocative melodies are further developed in modal improvisation and the ‘band’ itself, the core duo of Lechner/Tsabropoulos, is now augmented with a third player, Italian drummer U.T. Gandhi, who adds subtle shadings and pulsations, both embellishing the music and gently nudging it forward.
Vassilis Tsabropoulos piano
Anja Lechner violoncello
U.T. Ghandi percussion
Song Of Prosperity I
Gift Of Dreams
Song Of Gratitude
Song Of Prosperity II
Reflections And Shadows
Reading From A Sacred Book
Recorded June 2007
Includes audiochecker log and scans.