Giya Kancheli

edited December 2015 in Classical
<span style="font-weight: normal; font-family: 'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 14.3px; line-height: 20.02px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Prompted by this piece of writing about Murcof posted by yours truely yesterday:</span><blockquote class="Quote" style="font-weight: normal; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: 'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; quotes: "" ""; line-height: 20.02px;"><div class="QuoteText" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Corona, born in Tijuana in 1970, was primarily known as a member of Mexico’s celebrated Nortec (“Norteño-Techno”) Collective before his first full-length, Martes, was released in 2002. His revolutionary work as Murcof saw him recontextualizing the work of his beloved European contemporary classical composers (including the likes of <b>Arvo Pärt, Henryk Górecki and Giya Kancheli</b>) within minimal electronic structures. It’s a trick that others have tried to pull off, but none with Corona’s lightness of touch, or widespread appeal. The pieces here incorporate traditional instrumentation recorded especially for the album (including strings, piano and harp), working in tandem with his passion for new and unexplored rhythms. . . . . "[/i]<br>- <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.theleaflabel.com/en/releases/view/114/Murcof/Remembranza/BAY 47CD&quot; style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(30, 121, 167);">The Leaf Label</a></div></blockquote><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; border-image-source: initial; border-image-slice: initial; border-image-width: initial; border-image-outset: initial; border-image-repeat: initial; outline: 0px; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: 'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 20.02px; color: darkblue; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><div style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: 'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 20.02px; color: darkblue; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><a href="http://www.emusic.com/album/dennis-russell-davies-stuttgarter-kammerorchester/giya-kancheli-diplipito/11322318/"><img src="http://cf-images.emusic.com/music/images/album/113/223/11322318/600x600.jpg"; alt="Giya Kancheli: Diplipito album cover"> </a><span style="font-size: 14.3px; line-height: 20.02px;"><br></span></span></div><div><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; border-image-source: initial; border-image-slice: initial; border-image-width: initial; border-image-outset: initial; border-image-repeat: initial; outline: 0px; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: 'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 20.02px; color: darkblue; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-weight: bold;"><span style="font-size: 14.3px; line-height: 20.02px;">Derek Lee Ragin countertenor</span><br></span></div><span style="font-weight: bold;">Thomas Demenga cello<br>Dennis Russell Davies piano<br>Stuttgarter Kammerorchester<br>Dennis Russell Davies conductor<br>Recorded January 2001 at Mozart-Saal, Liederhalle, Stuttgart<br>Engineer: Peter Laenger<br>Produced by Manfred Eicher</span><br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;"><span style="font-style: oblique;">- "Giya Kancheli is a composer of contrasts. Hardly limited to the vast dynamic distances that have marked his work with increasing frequency, these contrasts also flourish in less discernible areas. We find them in mood, in timbre, and perhaps most vividly in the dance of sacred and secular that traces communicative patterns all over the music’s surface. The analogy is no accident, for dance would seem to be capital of the expansive territory etched herein.<br><br>The program’s title work, composed in 1997 and named after a drum of Kancheli’s native Georgia, is scored for violoncello, countertenor and orchestra. It begins where all of his works begin: inside. The piano is explored as a cavity in which echoes of Górecki’s Third Symphony comingle with every dancing scene of an Angelopoulos film, seen through a scrim of tears. The inclusion of guitar in the sound mix adds fractures to this glassine surface, while the cello births a countertenor voice from its winged enclosure (these roles reverse as the narrative develops). Though one might expect an ECM regular like David James for this recording, Kancheli has chosen instead a more vulnerable style in Derek Lee Ragin (who also gave the work’s premier). The match is perfect. Half-formed reinstatements of familiar motives shine through Ragin’s vocal branches, even as the strings weave a blanket of stillness over him from the piano’s block chords. At times Thomas Demenga’s song is hardly distinguishable from Ragin’s—not a question of resemblance but of presence. Small clusters of piano arpeggios roll down a hillside of tubular bells, tripping over their own voices. The titular hand drum makes a modest appearance toward the end, bringing with it the sound of villages and forgotten places. Hands brush across its skin in the final whisper, thus stretching to near invisibility one of Kancheli’s subtlest veils of sound. A masterpiece.<br><br>Dedicated both to Dennis Russell Davies (who conducts here from the bench) and to his wife (“with whom I have never danced”), Valse Boston for piano and strings (1996) opens with a strike from the keyboard. These outbursts crystallize like philosophies into their core questions. The orchestra breathes in and out through the instrument that enables its expressivity. Each measure is a microcosm held by the cosmos to the eye of a speechless god. Moments of pathos are few and far between, and all the more beautiful for the brevity of their passing. This wondrous music allows us to rethink the parameters of what we consider minimal. The single utterance never lingers yet its taste never dulls. Through this cumulative simplicity we find a monad of audible existence that has passed through us all. It is a silence, a heaviness that links memory to death, and in so doing illuminates the good deeds of our lives.<br><br>If we take the composer’s words above at face value, then we might cradle his music as one might a rare antique. There is history in its bruises, and these we can touch only with the intent to heal.</span><br>- <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ecmreviews.com/2012/02/23/diplipito/"; style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; border-image-source: initial; border-image-slice: initial; border-image-width: initial; border-image-outset: initial; border-image-repeat: initial; outline: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(30, 121, 167);">http://ecmreviews.com/2012/02/23/diplipito/</a><br><br>**************************************************************************************<br><br><span style="font-style: oblique;">- “…I feel that, conceptually, I am still living in the age of the horse and carriage and the first motor cars.”<br>–Giya Kancheli.<br><img src="http://www.schirmer.com/images/composer/kancheli-g.jpg"; alt="image" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; max-width: 100%;"><br>- "Music, like life itself, is inconceivable without romanticism. Romanticism is a high dream of the past, present, and future--a force of invincible beauty which towers above, and conquers, the forces of ignorance, bigotry, violence, and evil."<br>--Giya Kancheli<br><br>- "Born in Tbilisi on 10 August 1935, Giya Kancheli is Georgia's most distinguished living composer and a leading figure in the world of contemporary music. Kancheli's scores, deeply spiritual in nature, are filled with haunting aural images, varied colors and textures, sharp contrasts and shattering climaxes. His music draws inspiration from Georgian folklore and sings with a heartfelt, yet refined emotion; it is conceived dramaturgically with a strong linear flow and an expansive sense of musical time. A man of uncompromising artistic integrity, Kancheli has been called by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin, "an ascetic with the temperament of a maximalist -- a restrained Vesuvius." <br><br>Best-known as a composer of symphonies and other large-scale works, Kancheli has written seven symphonies and a "liturgy" for viola and orchestra, Mourned by the Wind. His Fourth Symphony ("In Memoria di Michelangelo") received its American premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yury Temirkanov conducting, in January 1978, shortly before the cultural freeze in the United States against Soviet artists. The advent of glasnost brought growing exposure for and recognition of Kancheli's distinctive musical voice, leading to prestigious commissions and increasingly frequent performances in Europe and America. Dennis Russell Davies, Jansug Kakhidze, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Kim Kashkashian, Mstislav Rostropovich and the Kronos Quartet are among his passionate champions. In recent seasons, world premieres of specially commissioned works have taken place in Seattle (Piano Quartet in L'istesso Tempo by the Bridge Ensemble, 1998) and New York (And Farewell Goes Out Sighing... for violin, countertenor and orchestra by the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, 1999). North American premieres of major scores by Kancheli have been presented by the Philadelphia and Chicago Symphony Orchestras and at the Vancouver International New Music Festival. In May 2002, he returned to these shores for the eagerly awaited premiere performances of Don't Grieve, a commission by the San Francisco Symphony for baritone and orchestra, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky as soloist and Michael Tilson Thomas conducting. <br><br>Kancheli's compositional style owes much to his work in the theatre. For two decades he served as Music Director of the Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilisi. His opera, Music for the Living, which has won considerable praise in the former Soviet Union and Western Europe since its June 1984 premiere, was written in collaboration with the Rustaveli's director Robert Sturua. In December 1999, the original collaborators restaged the opera for the Deutsches National Theater in Weimar. Among Kancheli's other recent scores are Diplipito for cello, counter-tenor and chamber orchestra, Time... and Again for violin and piano (1997), Rokwa for large symphony orchestra (1999) and Styx for viola, mixed chorus and orchestra (1999). After electrifying performances of Mourned by the Wind at the Brooklyn Philharmonic in the fall of 1993, critics raved: "superb," "there is no denying the powerful sincerity of this music and its riveting hold on the imagination -- a grip that doesn't relent until the consoling conclusion in which the individual and his turbulent, unpredictable universe arrive at a reconciliation." <br><br>Dislocated by political and social turbulence in his homeland, Kancheli currently resides in Antwerp. Recordings of his music are available on the Nonesuch, Sony and ECM New Series labels."</span><br><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.schirmer.com/default.aspx?TabId=2419&State_2872=2&ComposerId_2872=2423"; style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; border-image-source: initial; border-image-slice: initial; border-image-width: initial; border-image-outset: initial; border-image-repeat: initial; outline: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14.3px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(30, 121, 167);">G Schirmer Inc.</a>     </span></span>

Comments

  • Here's one more album from this truely amazing and deeply moving composer:

    image 
    Kim Kashkashian   Viola
    David James   Countertenor
    David Gould   Countertenor
    Rogers Covey-Crump   Tenor
    John Potter   Tenor
    Vasiko Tevdorashvili   Voice
    Natalia Pschenitschnikova   Alto Flute
    Stuttgarter Kammerorchester   
    Dennis Russell Davies   Conductor 

    - "My first exposure to the music of Giya Kancheli, with which the composer once said, “I feel more as if I were filling a space that has been deserted,” was through Exil, which remains in my opinion the finest ECM New Series release to date. Much in contrast to the tearful beauty of that most significant chamber album, the orchestral arrangements on Abii ne viderem—drawn as they are from the same thematic sources—lend extroverted articulation to essentially “monastic” material. This music may speak the same language, but in a far more distant dialect. The Life without Christmas cycle, from which two pieces bookend the present recording, is central to the Kancheli oeuvre. Not only is it his wellspring, but it also comprises, it would seem, the overarching worldview under which he musically operates. It is the gloom of a life of displacement, the full embodiment of what Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich calls “measured gravity,” which may perhaps be likened to the heavy emptiness of Tarkovsky’s Stalker. As in said film, every gesture makes a footprint, a remnant of human presence left to sink into the submerged wasteland of a silent future.

    Morning Prayers (1990) is immediately distinguished by an angelic boy soprano, whose taped voice is never fully grounded but which hovers throughout. The piano adds another haunting element, seeming to pull at the barbed ends of nostalgia even as it pushes the orchestra down a flight of descendent chords. Occasional violent moments startle us into self-awareness and only serve to underscore the power of the prayers that surround them. The most profoundly effective moment occurs when the piano echoes in a dance-like theme, the orchestral accompaniment slightly off center—a distant memory ravaged by time and circumstance.

    The title of the album’s central piece, Abii ne viderem (1992/94), translates to “I turned away so as not to see.” The more one listens to it, the question becomes not what is being turned away from but what is being observed upon turning. Its paced staccato bursts are linked by a profound silence, escalating with every reiteration. This silence eventually opens into a full orchestral statement, italicized again by the piano’s audible pulse. We find ourselves caught in the middle of a larger web of sentiments, until we can no longer see ourselves for who we are but only for who we have been. Personally, I find this piece to be a touch overbearing, if only because the import of its ideas is easily crushed by the heft of its dynamic spread.

    The presence of the Hilliard Ensemble rescues Evening Prayers (1991) from the didacticism of its predecessor. It is a more fully unified narrative, linked by a lingering alto flute. A gorgeous “ascension” passage marks a rare contrapuntal moment for Kancheli, while David James’s voice creates magic, ever so subtly offset by a skittering violin. Occasional bursts, some punctuated by snare drum, break the mood and ensure that our attention is held. Inevitably, the piece ends like a ship sailing into a foggy ocean, leaving behind only a blank map to show for our travels.

    Don’t let any comparisons to Arvo Pärt lure you astray. Kancheli’s music, while transcendent, cannot be divorced from its rootedness in upheaval. And while this album may be filled with beautiful moments, I cannot help but feel that something gets elided in these grander arrangements. I say this with the gentlest of criticisms, and perhaps only because my first foray into this world was on such a small scale. The sound of Exil stays with me, and sometimes I just cannot hear it in any other context, and for those wishing to hear this composer for the first time I would recommend starting there. That being said, the scale of these pieces makes them no less evocative for all their historical understatements and sensitivity. And perhaps that is Kancheli’s underlying observation: that, in our current climate of convalescent ideologies, all we have to hold on to are those rare flashes of fire in which our communion with something greater has transcended the rising waters of sociopolitical corruption."

    ECM Records 

Sign In or Register to comment.