Παρασκευή, 24 Ιανουαρίου 2014
Κριτική του Tony Klein, γιά την έκδοση "Aπό τον ταμπουρά στο μπουζούκι" (Ιουν.2013)
The History and Evolution of the Bouzouki & Its First Recordings (1926-1932)
Book and CD by Stavros Kourousis.
To start with I must tell the reader, in the interest of transparency, that I have been closely involved with this fascinating project for the last couple of years, that I have been responsible for some parts of the English translation, and that I have no economic stakes in it.
A further word of preface is in order. The archives of the large record companies contain pristine archive copies of hundreds of thousands of recordings from the 78 rpm era, from at least 1898 onwards, many of which are extremely rare or simply unique. These are in the form of either unplayed shellac discs or metal masters. The economic and logistic hurdles imposed by the companies, which tend to obstruct access to such material for reissue by small independent labels, lead to many such recordings being reissued on the basis of transfers of used discs in varying states of wear, while perfect archive copies would theoretically be available and could have been used. In fairness, there are of course huge quantities of recordings for which no sources other than used discs have survived.
From Tambouras to Bouzouki is really at least two things at once. It is a CD which is unique in several aspects. The musicians represented were born in the third or fourth quarters of the 19th century, and represent aspects of non-commercialised traditional bouzouki (and tenor banjo and accordion!) playing which were never captured on disc in any other contexts. 16 of the 18 tracks have been transcribed direct from metal masters and have intentionally not been subjected to any digital manipulation whatsoever. All but six of the 18 recordings have never been reissued in any format whatsoever - in fact, ten of them are alternative and/or rejected takes that have never seen the light of day since they were recorded. Two recordings (tracks 14-15) are taken from the first commercial recording of a bouzouki, for which one of the matrices is lost. There is one known surviving copy of this disc, in miraculously good condition. Faithful to his ambition however, Kourousis chose to transcribe the surviving original metal matrix, and to transcribe the other side from the 78 rpm shellac disc itself. The observant listener will perhaps be able to discern differences in the character of the surface noise of these two pieces. This might sound nerdish to the point of idiocy - but what this CD in fact offers the listener, apart from the music itself, is the experience of hearing the information contained in 78 rpm recordings before they were reproduced in shellac.
From Tambouras to Bouzouki is also a book which aims to trace, from ancient times to the early decades of the 20th century, the origins and vicissitudes of the bouzouki, and its close relative the somewhat more difficult to define tambouras. This involves dipping into several areas of study - ancient history, classical archaeology, Byzantine studies, iconography, relevant Greek and Western European writings from the 17th century to the early 20th century, organology, and discography. This is probably not an exhaustive list.
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