American Record Guide

I can think of very few composers who might be more appropriately described as “neo-classical” than Cilia Petridou. In both the songs and the chamber music included in this two-disc set there is a melodic and harmonic language that recalls 18th- or 19th Century European classical traditions, both in terms of musical vocabulary and expressive and dramatic temperament.

The listener is not likely to mistake this music for actual 18th- or 19th Century works. A modern sensibility about harmony and voice-leading appears from time to time, and the forms of pieces or movements are not “classical”. Some songs like ‘What Love Is’ deviate a bit from this general aesthetic, incorporating an almost show-tune style of harmony and attitude. Still, the predominant mode is neo-classical, with an added Mediterranean flavor, presumably owing to the composer’s Greek heritage.

Her piano quartet. Memories, and her piano trio, Black July 1971, are both somber tributes to the tumultuous political history between the UK and Greece. Petridou was affected directly as a child, and she emigrated to the UK in the mid 60s. All of the music is accessible and easy to appreciate for its craft and heart-felt expression.

—George Adams