Translated by Steve Elliott
Tablatuur magazine doesn’t give points, but this CD would score highly on all levels. Stathis Skandalidis is the ideal interpreter for this brilliant, but certainly not easy-to-play music. ‘Stathis plays at such a high level that I rearranged some of my compositions to pose greater technical challenges for him’, says Isbin in an interview. Isbin often mentions the guitarist John Renbourn as an inspiration, but there are all sorts of other influences to discover. For example, in jazz and world music. Here and there you might be reminded of an Arab oud or a Japanese koto, and also the guitar music of the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu may be brought to mind.
However, it should be stressed that this is not guitar music merely recycled for the lute. All the pieces are written with and for the lute, and explore all the imaginable possibilities of the instrument. This results in surprising harmonies and a colourful palette of timbres, which you would never expect to be performed on the instrument. Skandalidis plays an eight-course lute built by the Romanian luthier György Lorinczi, which is ideal for this music. The text on the CD inner sleeve is quite brief, but at Isbin’s website you can find much more information. We highly recommend this CD.