STELIOS PETRAKIS QUARTET – The Art of Cretan Lyra – Greec
Places of peace, islands of goodwill,
Where, transported by sweet dreams,
I abandon myself to the thoughts of my heart.
～ Chateaubriand, The Sea
While Crete was influenced by the Turks after its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in 1669 and was then linked successively to Egypt in 1822 and Greece in 1913, its music has retained originality that is envied elsewhere. It is characterised by the prominent use of the lyra, a three-stringed fiddle, accompanied by a laouto or Cretan lute.
Suffused with knowledge that seems to go back to the Minoan period when Cretan civilisation radiated across the whole region, the music of Stelios Petrakis, an instrumentalist and lute player, highlights the different genres developed along the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean. However, the introspective character of the oriental or Ottoman modes are here replaced with an enchanting clarity. The music is driven by the spirit of the dance and supported by depth of voices and subtle intermingling of strings.
‘With this quartet made up of exceptionally talented young musicians and open to the world, my ambition is to reunite and to present in a lively and animated manner my own ‘Cretan’ compositions and the pieces of our traditional music that I admire and that move me … The movement and expressiveness that are found at festivals, the enthusiasm shared among friends in the villages – this is what we want to share!’ – Stelios Petrakis
The joyous beauty of Cretan music sparkles from this little lyra. The sounds are both delicate and lively, pulling us into the whirl of an ancient dance.