245

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

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Dino Saluzzi / Gidon Kremer / Andrei Puchkarev: Giya Kancheli: Themes from the Songbook 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

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Third Stage of Elegance" CD/LP/Track Review Third Stage of Elegance
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Concert Of The Century" CD/LP/Track Review Concert Of The Century
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "Blues Revival" CD/LP/Track Review Blues Revival
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Atrium" CD/LP/Track Review Atrium
by James Nadal
Published: May 2, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.