All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

245

Dino Saluzzi / Gidon Kremer / Andrei Puchkarev: Giya Kancheli: Themes from the Songbook

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
There is a potent element in the sophisticated pioneer spirit of ECM Records and its founder, Manfred Eicher, that is perfectly illustrated by this recording. Giya Kancheli (born 1935) is a Georgian composer who has produced, among other compositions, film and stage scores over the past 40 years. Kancheli transformed the elements of these scores into piano reductions he called Simple Music for Piano, subtitled "33 miniatures from Music for Stage and Screen."

Kancheli's son, Sandro, shortly before his father's 75th birthday, showed these scores to Eicher, who immediately thought would be of interest to Argentinian bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi, in preparing a tribute to the composer. Independently, violinist Gidon Kremer expressed a similar desire, working with vibraphonist Andrei Pushkarev from his ensemble Kremerata Baltica. Pushkarev ultimately recorded with both Saluzzi and Kremer separately, the results edited and engineered into the present recording. Such is the story of Eicher and ECM: East meeting West and North meeting South, all in the mind of a musical visionary.

Full orchestral music reduced to a chamber-sized format allows for the music's intimate anatomy exposed. Held together by Pushkarev's sensitive mallets, the compositions take on a pastoral life of their own: introspective, seeking, and improvised. Pushkarev's interaction with Saluzzi is captured and carefully displayed on the themes from When Almonds Blossomed (1972) and As You Like It (1978), each musician trading the lead with the other, peeking in every nook and cranny of the composition.

Likewise, Pushkarev's work with Kremer is almost empathic, alongside Saluzzi in the main theme from The Crucible (1965). The overused word "soundscape" remains most appropriate for the airy topology of the piece, where each instrument floats separately among and through one another. The instrument combination gives the music a fragrance of Eastern Europe by way of Vienna (Vienna, Argentina, that is). Eicher offers a glimpse of the music in its original orchestral/vocal form by reprising the disc's opener, "Herio Bichebo," from Earth, This is Your Son (1980), offering a nice contrast to the reduced version.

The alchemy involved in conceiving music like this, much less making it, is of a miracle variety. This project is beyond simple genius dispensed by virtuosi, its substance if of a whole other world, one that looks within rather than without, for those things previously missed or never considered.

Track Listing: Herio Bichebo from Earth, This Is Your Son; Theme from Bear's Kiss; Main theme from The Crucibles; Theme from As You Like It; Theme from Don Quixote Theme from Hamlet; Theme from King Lear Main theme from Kin-Dza-Dza Main theme from The Role For A Beginner; Theme from Twelfth Night Main theme from Cinema; Waltz from Richard III; Theme from Mimino; Main theme from When Almonds Blossomed; Waltz from The Eccentrics.

Personnel: Dino Saluzzi: bandoneon; Gidon Kremer: violin; Andrei Pushkarev: vibraphone.

Title: Giya Kancheli: Themes from the Songbook | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "In This Together" CD/LP/Track Review In This Together
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Post Bop Gypsies" CD/LP/Track Review Post Bop Gypsies
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Kurrent" CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017