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Cat. No. CHAN 10297 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10297 - Kancheli: Simi/ Mourned by the Wind
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Available From: 09 May 2005
"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.

Giya Kancheli

Giya Kancheli was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 1935 and is thus a near contemporary of Sofia Gubaidulina and Alfred Schnittke. As with those composers, his musical education benefited from the second phase of the Soviet Union’s post-Stalin ‘Thaw’ in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when the country suddenly caught up with Western cultural trends that had been proscribed for a quarter of a century. His music, again like that of his contemporaries, has become progressively more concerned with overtly spiritual content.

The son of a surgeon, Kancheli initially trained as a pianist. From 1959 to 1963 he studied composition with the Tbilisi Conservatory with Iona Tuskiya, himself a puil of one of the most prominent Russian modernists of the 1920s,Vladimir Shcherbachov. From 1970 Kancheli taught composition at the same institution, and the following year he became Musical Director of the famous Rustavali Theatre.

During his years in his homeland, Kancheli worked closely with three prominent figures in Georgia’s cultural life: the musicologist Givi Ordzhonikidze, whom he succeeded in 1984 as First Secretary of the Georgian Composer’s Union; the stage producer Robert Sturua (for whom he composed a large number of incidental scores); and the conductor Dzansug Kakhidze. His move to Berlin in 1991 was prompted by the political upheavals in Georgia following the break-up of the USSR. Since 1994 he has lived in Belgium.

Before his emigration, the backbone of Kancheli’s output was formed by his seven symphonies, most of them slow-moving, single-movement structures. The works of the past fifteen years, however, have adapted poetic titles that make explicit their spirituality, sorrow and sense of estrangement.


Ivashkin plays the concerto with the same dedication displayed in his Chandos recording of the complete cello and piano works.
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9722 (Schnittke: Cello Concerto etc.)

I cannot imagine it [the Cello Concerto No. 1, performed by Ivashkin] being played with more commanding virtuosity or more rhetorical intensity.
Gramophone on CHAN 9852 (Schnittke: Symphony No. 7 etc.)

Both pieces are written in the slow idiom so characteristic of Kancheli: they are slow moving, tonally rooted, laconic, deeply reflective, unworldly yet touched by the ‘inner’ qualities of the folk music of his native Georgia. Alexader Ivashkin’s warmly toned cello (a 1710 Guarneri) sings most movingly. This is refined playing; a tendency to understate gives Ivahskin’s performance the qualities of inwardness and fragility that seem to me wholly appropriate. Valeri Polyansky and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra meet him on exactly the same footing.
International Record Review

The performance is remarkable: precise, and with concentrated intensity in even the most skeletal phrases… the recording makes sure we miss nothing.
BBC Music Magazine ‘Best of 2001’ on CHAN 9885 (Schnittke: Symphony No. 8 etc.)


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