Giya Kancheli: Chiaroscuro (ECM New Series 2442)

2442 X

Giya Kancheli
Chiaroscuro

Gidon Kremer violin
Patricia Kopatchinskaja violin
Kremerata Baltica
Recorded December 2014 at Lithuanian National Radio and Television, Vilnius
Engineers: Vilius Keras and Aleksandra Suchova
Mixing and mastering at Emil Berliner Studios, Berlin by Rainer Maillard, Manfred Eicher, and Vilius Keras
Produced by Manfred Eicher
U.S. release date: November 6, 2015

“Despite the world’s obvious achievement, our planet is still torn by bloody contradictions. And no progress in artistic activity can withstand the destructive force that easily cancels the fragile process of construction. (…) I write for myself, without having any illusions that ‘beauty will save the world.’”
–Giya Kancheli

The words of a composer-in-exile who lives so deeply inside time that he creates outside of it. Kancheli speaks them not in the interest of putting forth a mission statement, but to assess the measure of his art against the metric of history, the last century of which has birthed some of its brightest galaxies and darkest nebulae. In the context of his personal astronomy, Kancheli seeks out vestiges of indifference in a world built on denial of the same. On this disc you will find no healing but the honesty of a mixed spirit. Surely, the music not only abides by such sentiments but also thrives on their shadows.

The 2010 title composition, first in a program of two, is scored for violin and chamber orchestra. Despite its perennial format, it reads neither like a concerto nor a tone poem, but rather a procession led by one who follows his own invisible nature. The feeling of inseparability is strong as these figures—nodes in a pathway of nerves—bond and separate. The bass drum rumble that opens their 23 prosaic minutes of communication signals the subterranean heart of it all, which by virtue of the shimmering strings that follow sews its raiment anew. As in the music of Valentin Silvestrov, the piano here adopts a commentary role. Its very involvement reveals an internal expanse rivaled in scope among his previous works perhaps only by Trauerfarbenes Land.

Violinist Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica handle every note with the admiration of a curator. Kancheli opines humbly about the musicians’ contributions and recognizes that the simplicity of his thematic moon shines by the light of many suns. In this recording, he dubs Kremer the “true author” of Chiaroscuro and he himself its “co-author.” The level of integration and respect achieved from both is something to behold with awe. Likewise, the distance and birdlike liquidity of Kremer’s high notes in the final phase.

Kancheli and Friends

At a slightly longer duration of 25 minutes, Twilight (2004) is scored for two violins and chamber orchestra. Kremer is joined by protégé Patricia Kopatchinskaja, last heard on ECM playing the music of Galina Ustvolskaya. Although it is Kancheli’s first piece for this instrumentation, and written at Kremer’s behest, it will feel familiar to the Kancheli initiate. Inspired by a row of poplar trees outside his Antwerp studio, whose significance became clear to him after a brush with death, it treats life as a gift twice given. The addition of a second leading voice emphasizes this metaphor and changes the landscape considerably, collapsing the former procession into a molecule of new rotations. Merest hints of Kancheli’s past thematic staples whisper through the overgrowth, speaking through the photosynthesis of the present. Interrelationships of soloists and orchestra are gnarled and rooted, each pouring out from the last in the manner of a divided cell. Melodies and atmospheric changes occur with such aching force that it is all one can do to keep the skeleton from trembling.

Twilight abounds in prismatic effects. Like an enhanced chamber music, it magnifies the immediacy of smaller forces with implications of unwritten futures. A direct emotional line takes shape from motif to motif until a naked mystery prevails. Kancheli is therefore correct in his self-assessment: This is not an album in which to seek sanctuary. That being said, one may discern a ray or two in the bleakness of its canvas, for to the interpreters’ authorship must be added the listener’s own.

As is always the case with the Kancheli experience, moments of apparent eruption are in fact the opposite. Nowhere truer than in this program, where the occasional outburst is, if anything, an “inburst,” pushing the focal point ever farther toward forgetting. Cavernous engineering thus allows the orchestra’s solitude to come spilling out in consumption of tension. We do well to see these dynamic affordances, like album’s title, as variations on a grander theme—in this case of mortality, and the parentheses that are its beginning and end.

Kancheli’s most important recording since Exil.

(To hear samples of Chiaroscuro, please click here.)

Giya Kancheli: Themes from the Songbook (ECM 2188)

Themes

Giya Kancheli
Themes from the Songbook

Dino Saluzzi bandoneón
Gidon Kremer violin
Andrei Pushkarev vibraphone
Recorded and mixed May 2010 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Additional recordings at Latvijas Radio, Riga
Engineer: Varis Kurmins
Final editing, mastering at MSM Studios by Christoph Stickel and Manfred Eicher
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Giya Kancheli’s first album for ECM’s flagship label is a major event. The Georgian composer will be more than familiar to New Series aficionados, who’ve had ample opportunity to acquaint themselves with his uncompromising sonorities, rich dynamic spreads, and recurring themes. Yet few of us will ever have known that he also developed a sideline—as did other (former) Soviet Bloc composers like Dmitri Shostakovich and Arvo Pärt, though none so prolifically—as scorer for theatre and cinema. One can see hear album as companion to the 2009 publication of Kancheli’s Simple Music for Piano: 33 Miniatures for Stage and Screen. The subtitle betrays little depth of his subsidy, which exceeds 100 unique productions. Although Kancheli humbly says in his preface of these songs, “Time will tell if they can survive outside their original context,” it is clear from this album that they already have. Their realization brings together an intimate cast, with producer Manfred Eicher as director. Bandoneón master Dino Saluzzi, violinist Gidon Kremer, and vibraphonist Andrei Pushkarev indeed move as if from behind a curtain, if not in front of a lens, bringing their sharp wit and live “editing” skills to an immediate yet highly polished sound-world. The inclusion of Pushkarev was a masterstroke, and his willingness to explore these themes is reflected in his collaborations with Saluzzi and Kremer in kind. Having recorded Themes as a surprise 75th birthday gift at Eicher’s suggestion, they bring lovingness to every motive and thus emphasize the preservation that flows by and within the art they share. And on that note, we have to thank, as does Kancheli’s son Sandro in his heartfelt liner notes, ECM for championing this music and its aftereffects, as might a cartographer love the land.

“Herio Bichebo” from Earth, This Is Your Son (1980, dir. Revaz Chkheidze) establishes a defining combination of vibraphone and bandoneón. The feeling is inevitably watery, its passage a boat adrift toward a mountain rife with ancestral longings. This atmosphere also sets the tone for the program’s careful use of pauses and suspensions. There is a forlorn quality, if not a sweet tenderness, to this introduction, wherein lurks the elegiac wave of Bear’s Kiss (2002, dir. Sergei Bodrov) and the grinding lows of When Almonds Blossomed (1972, dir. Lana Gogoberidze). Other cinematic highlights include the themes from Don Quixote (1988, dir. Chkheidze), which features an overdubbed Kremer and at once expresses the story’s inherent sadness and innocence, and the nostalgic disclosure of Mimino (1977, dir. Danelia and Gadriadze), for which Kremer joins Pushkarev. The latter draws out some of the deepest emotion in the main theme from Kin-Dza-Dza (1986, dir. Georgi Danelia and Revaz Gadriadze), shuffling characteristically Kanchelian bursts of exaltation into somber tiers.

All seven plays represented on Themes rose out of collaboration with renowned Georgian theatre director Robert Sturua, whose musicality marries well with Kancheli’s dramaturgy. The main theme from The Crucible (1965, play by Arthur Miller) marks Kremer’s first album entrance, his raspy bowing complementing the click of bandoneón keys to delectable effect. Saluzzi and Pushkarev reprise their chemistry in a carefree rendition of The Role for a Beginner (1979, play by Tamaz Chiladze), I daresay reaching subtle genius in As You Like It (1978). Memorable enough to be a jazz standard, it is a ballad that looks backward and forward as it spins in place to the rhythm of its heartbeat. And in fact, Shakespeare provides some of the deepest inspiration of the program, as in Saluzzi’s shadowy Hamlet (1992) and Pushkarev’s dynamic Twelfth Night (2001), which illustrates its story in flashes of light.

Jansug Khakidze, the late singer/conductor who was one of the composer’s closest friends, leads the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra in an archival encore. His “Herio Bichebo,” warmly engineered by Mikhail Kilosanidze, is so iconic that many believed him to have written it. Listening to it here, one can understand why. Jan Garbarek fans will recognize his inimitable voice as the same behind “The Moon Over Mtatsminda” on 1998’s RITES.

Interestingly enough, Kancheli’s pieces for the stage sound the most cinematic, and vice versa. Together they comprise a daydream paginated and bound for travel. It is sure to please Kancheli veterans and newcomers alike, and will, I hope, inspire the latter to explore further.

Giya Kancheli: Diplipito (ECM New Series 1773)

Giya Kancheli
Diplipito

Derek Lee Ragin countertenor
Thomas Demenga cello
Dennis Russell Davies piano
Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
Dennis Russell Davies conductor
Recorded January 2001 at Mozart-Saal, Liederhalle, Stuttgart
Engineer: Peter Laenger
Produced by Manfred Eicher

“…I feel that, conceptually, I am still living in the age of the horse and carriage and the first motor cars.”
–Giya Kancheli

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.

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.

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.

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.

Giya Kancheli: In l’istesso tempo (ECM New Series 1767)

 

Giya Kancheli
In l’istesso tempo

Gidon Kremer violin
Oleg Maisenberg piano
The Kremerata Baltica
The Bridge Ensemble
Recorded December 2000, Festeburgekirche, Frankfurt; July 2003, Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus, Lockenhaus; June 1999, Festeburgkirche, Frankfurt
Engineers: Stephan Schellmann, Peter Laenger, Markus Heiland
Produced by Manfred Eicher

“I hope that listeners will be touched by my compositions and not confuse my deliberate simplicity with what I consider the most dangerous thing—the feeling of indifference.”

These words from Giya Kancheli—a composer-in-exile who is not “in between,” but rather who inhabits his “outsiderness”—speak for something beyond music, for it is the simplicity of life itself that glows at the heart of his works. Each inhabits the same vast country, as mythical as it is real. Together they are a landscape torn asunder and rebuilt through a passion that only strings, hammers, bows, and the occasional tongue can articulate. In such a country, Time…and again is not only a 1997 composition for violin and piano, but also the sign of a mind steeped in the tea of remembrance. It writes itself into existence with unified declarations, any given sentiment deeper than the last. Violinist Gidon Kremer draws breath from Oleg Maisenberg’s low rumbles at the keyboard, the latter of a storm on an uncertain path. Themes are incidental, their background as present as a thought. Shades of dislocation reveal themselves, sometimes secretly (the allusion to Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel at 4:41 provides a clue). Outbursts forgo catharsis in favor of renewed self-awareness. Flashes of dances and folk melodies paint familial pictures, if only to remind us that we have traveled far.

Yet the singing in V & V (1994) for violin, taped voice, and strings seems to bridge that distance, flowering directly from within us. As orchestra and soloist unravel the deeper implications of that voice, we are ever on the verge of fading with it into the surrounding dust. Persuasion is rare, dynamic contrasts wide, and callings deep. And it is in their vale that the title piece for piano quartet travels in caravan. Maisenberg traces a steadying presence, setting the tone from which the strings may work their way into soft glides and terse spirals. The strings, in fact, seem to inhabit a parallel dimension where the implications of an incomplete statement are the norm (Another allusion to Pärt at 21:57 pulls the threads lost therein through an enigmatic loophole, thereby binding us to a circular breath).

These are ponderous works, never concerned with virtuosity, shying away from injury, stretching out even the densest element into translucence. A challenging program for some, to be sure, but one that can never be faulted for following its own path with the gentle reassurance of a mortal gaze.

Giya Kancheli: Magnum Ignotum (ECM New Series 1669)

 

Giya Kancheli
Magnum Ignotum

Mstislav Rostropovich cello
Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra
Jansug Kakhidze conductor
Recorded December 1997
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Said Mstislav Rostropovich, to whom the opening work of this album is dedicated, of his longtime friend, “His natural element is the deepest mystical sorrow. Olivier Messiaen revealed for me the limitlessness and endlessness of time, and the same is true for Kancheli.” Chronological uncertainty seems to have been a core philosophy for the master cellist, whose sound grew only deeper toward the end of his life. Simi (1995) proves to be an ideal vehicle for his aging, yet ever robust sound. The title is Georgian for “string,” and indeed vibration is its universe. Pauses are left to the soloist’s discretion, and for this performance Rostropovich drew inspiration from Kancheli’s own halted style of speech. The music swirls in a crystal ball that, when occasionally shaken, snows down on a familiar motivic scene. Its imagery is stark and discomforting. A piano opens its chording like the death throes of an unfathomable organism. Brass-laden swells rupture its skin, immediately cauterized by an instrument of divine fire. Yet Simi is not without its hopeful intimations, as in the brief harmonic twinge at the 14’ mark. And while the cello’s presence dominates throughout, it is anything but the self-centered celebrant, comporting itself rather like one in mourning. That being said, the piece’s subtitle, “Joyless thoughts for violoncello and orchestra,” is something of a misnomer, for the cello also presents its own paradox: in the single performer lies the potential for multiple voices, and in the playing one finds undeniable ardor. In this instance, the cello is like a prism through which the composer’s light passes. The orchestra is no longer mere accompaniment, but an unraveling of the soloist’s heartbeat.

Magnum Ignotum (The Great Anonymous), written in 1994 for wind ensemble, double bass, and tape, has become one of Kancheli’s most widely played pieces. The response to a commission for which the composer was asked to incorporate Georgian folk music, Kancheli includes said music unmitigated, except by the technology of tape by which it is deployed. The opening recitation is of an Anchikhati priest, who seems to float above an almost funereal bassoon. Voices return in a 1930s field recording of three old men from West Georgia improvising in a haunting mezza voce called “ghighini.” Despite following a heavy orchestra piece, the modest scoring of Magnum Ignotum brings its own intensity, not least because every melodic line depends on the strength of the breath behind it. Thus invoked, the human body is unfolded through the vocal phenomenon that is the Rustavi Folk Choir, whose heartening rendition of the Trisagion hymn “Tsmindao Ghmerto” (Holy God) folds its hands to a clang of bells.

This is music concerned with its own ephemeral path, always skirting the edge of fleshly existence and the limitations upon which its life hinges. It is a candle flame holding on to its last flickers; it is also the puff of air that pulls it into smoke. An essential release from cover to disc.

Giya Kancheli: Lament (ECM New Series 1656)

 

Giya Kancheli
Lament

Gidon Kremer violin
Maacha Deubner soprano
Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra
Jansug Kakhidze conductor
Recorded March 1998, Centre for Music and Culture, Tbilisi
Engineer: Mikhail Kilosanidze
Produced by Manfred Eicher

ECM offers some of Giya Kancheli’s most compelling music in Lament (Music of Mourning in Memory of Luigi Nono). This 1994 outpouring for violin, soprano, and orchestra is a requiem, a postlude, a concerto, and homage. It is also more than these, spreading its heavy wings wide across an ever-changing landscape. Kancheli revisits the words of Hans Sahl, whose verses appeared upon the same lips in EXIL, this time through his poem “Stanzas.”

I go slowly hence from the world
Into a domain beyond all distance,

Gidon Kremer’s violin seems to arise from a shadow within a shadow. Soon joined by flute, which acts like a hooded guide through the wilderness, Kremer flirts with his surroundings. The orchestra responds provocatively to these agitations, only to blend back into the woodwork from which its sounds are born. As strings wander toward the horizon, every bowed step seems only to bring them closer to me, as if I were but a projection of a faraway self.

And what I was and am and shall remain
Goes with me hasteless and forbearing
Into a country ’til yet untrod

The wind continues its gentle flight, weaving through orchestral punctuations like a suture through flesh. These satoric bursts never last. Their clarity is brief, their catharsis even briefer. Kremer brings a raw, rustic tone, and with it a certain terrestrial quality to this otherwise stratospheric music. Unfamiliar skies and the mud-stained roads beneath them temper any possible thrill of discovery. And yet, the closer I walk to death, the brighter my surroundings seem to become.

I go slowly hence from time
Into a future beyond the stars,

Kremer’s lilting highs mesh beautifully with Maacha Deubner’s own as both pull the orchestra to a high summit. I leap without hesitation, floating ever so gently back to solid ground. Deubner seems to sing from somewhere not of this world. Her voice becomes a memory, something heard when I let down my mental guard. Kremer gets an equally magical sound from his instrument, leading the orchestra with utter determination.

And what I was and am and ever shall remain
Goes with me hasteless and forbearing,

Deubner sets aloft a high-pitched violin before oboe and orchestra spin their own guiding light out of ether. Familiar material works its way into my mental window: a rare comfort in these tattered vestiges, far enough removed from Kancheli’s motivic staples while also weeping in their shadows. I can only sit on the edge of music like this, never knowing whether to lie back or lean forward. And so I am resigned to the margin, left to wander

As though I’d not, or scarcely, ever been.

Giya Kancheli: Trauerfarbenes Land (ECM New Series 1646)

 

Giya Kancheli
Trauerfarbenes Land

Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra
Dennis Russell Davies conductor
Recorded March/August 1997, ORF Studio, Vienna
Engineer: Joseph Schütz
Produced by Manfred Eicher

As much as I adore the likes of Arvo Pärt and John Tavener, it mystifies me to see their names being repeatedly opened like comparative umbrellas under which other contemporary composers are ushered from the critical storm. Enter Giya Kancheli, who has carved such a lasting gouge in the recorded landscape that one could hardly mistake it for that of anyone else. Though he may share the same light as his contemporaries, the Soviet Georgia-born composer gives off an entirely unique reflection, and would seem to hold no illusions regarding the messages of his music. The massive orchestral works on this disc are like two mirrors held in front of one another, projecting endless sorrow into a trembling corridor.

From the opening measures of…à la Duduki (1995), we are graced by a sound that is at once anthemic and solemn. The intermittent brass proclamation invokes nothing more than itself. Although the music harbors a potential for regularity, it prefers to express its wordless sentiments with widely varying degrees of fluidity. Ultimately, gentle hearts still these moments of profound drama. The occasional piano introduces a human color to the palette, which otherwise seems to paint an atmospheric veneer far beyond our touch. The music falls as it rises: that is, in anticipatory silence.

1994’s Trauerfarbenes Land (“Land that Wears Mourning”) introduces another resounding breach of sound, only this time accentuated by a more pointed percussion section. For the next 37 minutes, we are subjected to a slow vacillation between agitation and peace, self-hatred and prayer. The power of this music is the power to unsettle, guiding us away from our comfort zones into a land that, like its title, is indeed cloaked in grief. Yet what appears on the surface a poignant meditation on the harms of the material and the abstract ends up the product of a beating heart and nothing more. Every moment of delicacy pulls those gravid statements closer and every bellowing cry brings that crawling darkness into blinding light. There is no tragedy to be found here, but only the nooks in which we hide our fears.

As with any Kancheli recording, one will find familiar footholds, and will thus feel supremely grounded in these musical surroundings. At the same time, there is an underlying (in)difference, an umbral presence creeping in from all sides. Kancheli shows a liking for more pronounced contrast in these larger settings, forging in that intersection a rather terse melodic territory that is constantly folding in upon itself like a cell dividing in reverse. It is also his unity. Like “left” and “right,” though divided into “evil” and “good,” respectively, we are reminded here that they both belong to the same body, and therefore can never be separated.

ECM set a new standard of classical recording with this album, capturing the music’s quietest whispers and resounding roars with equal presence and clarity.


Alternate cover (?)

Giya Kancheli: Caris Mere (ECM New Series 1568)

 

Giya Kancheli
Caris Mere

Eduard Brunner clarinet
Maacha Deubner soprano
Kim Kashkashian viola
Jan Garbarek soprano saxophone
Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
Dennis Russell Davies conductor
Recorded April 1994 – January 1995
Engineer: Peter Laenger
Produced by Manfred Eicher

The music of Giya Kancheli is firmly rooted in emptiness, in those silent spaces between musical gestures where the voice is born behind the words it sings. Kancheli seems also aware that silence can rarely be disconnected from violence, that in our configurations of human relations and conflict there are moments when one’s history ceases to exist in the utterable, moments that animate his musical frameworks with echoes of a distinct cultural memory. Such is the impetus for the composer’s Life Without Christmas cycle, which was begun on Abii ne viderem and is concluded with the present release.

Midday Prayers (for solo clarinet, soprano, and chamber orchestra) opens the album’s trio of compositions with a protracted meditation on Passion texts. An airy wash of sustained tones and rich orchestral timbres is broken by intermittent declarations of hidden sentiment. A certain dis-ease informs the winds, even as strings paint the thinnest veneer of hope. The seasoned Kancheli listener will have come to expect the intense dynamic distance to be found here, the balance of which focuses our attention on the details of quietude and an outburst’s potential to enlighten. A piano gives us the briefest glimpse into a time before strife ravaged a onetime joy. The piece’s sparseness makes its fuller moments shout with the force of an ensemble twice their size.

Caris Mere (for soprano and viola) moves with the same sense of unfolding as Midday Prayers, with the added hint of Medieval monophony. The title means “After the Wind” in Georgian and recalls that of his earlier piece, Vom Winde beweint (Mourned by the Wind). Where the latter expands with the looming presence of an entire orchestra, here we find that piece’s soloist with a voice that isn’t so much added as it is drawn from the viola’s heart. Kim Kashkashian and Maacha Deubner (previously heard to magical effect on Kancheli’s Exil) each carry their own weight, shedding it little by little as they scale new heights with every phrase. This music is arid but alive, the voice its only inhabitant, the lone survivor of a catastrophe immune to erasure.

Kronos Quartet fans will recognize the final piece, Night Prayers, from their album of the same name. This extended version (for saxophone and string orchestra) begins with very deep voices, resounding from the liminal realm that is tape, accentuated by a knotty fringe of strings. As saxophonist Jan Garbarek pierces the gloom with his light, the piece flaps its thematic shutters like a quiet storm. Generally a very meditative journey, though not without its moments of rapture, Night Prayers is a captivating highpoint of Kancheli’s spiral of sound. Jan Garbarek gives due respect to the music at hand, and makes the most of a brief improvisational window in an otherwise precisely notated architecture.

 

Kancheli’s music is a hall of mirrors, each one distorting us differently. Ruptures of energy inflict the pain of restriction upon a population that knows only freedom, and we become implicated among the oppressed. This is music that clearly delineates the boundary between the influence of tradition (such as it is conceived) and the power of hegemony.