The great Georgian composer’s twelfth ECM New Series album features first recordings of two major works, ‘Chiaroscuro’ for violin and chamber orchestra, and ‘Twilight’ for two violins and chamber orchestra, performed by Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica.
The renowned violinist Gidon Kremer and his players have had a long and close association with Giya Kancheli. On ‘Twilight’, the coming together of Kremer and Patricia Kopatchinskaja, two of the most powerfully expressive violinists of our era, makes for fascinating listening. The piece is a touching meditation on mortality, written at a time when Giya Kancheli was recovering from illness and seeing in the leaves and branches of poplar trees outside his window a metaphor for change and transformation. ‘Chiaroscuro’, meanwhile, borrows its title from the painting technique of the renaissance and baroque whose concern with dramatic contrasts of light and shade corresponds quite directly to the stark dynamics of the composer’s writing, vigorously conveyed by Kremerata Baltica.
Recorded in Vilnius, Lithuania, in December 2014, and produced by Manfred Eicher, this album is an important addition to Kancheli’s ECM catalogue. It is issued shortly after the composer celebrated his 80th birthday (on 10 August 2015). Gidon Kremer has previously recorded several of Kancheli’s works for ECM, including Lament, Silent Prayer, V & V, Time… and again, and a collection of his music for films, ‘Themes from the Songbook’.
Kancheli on Kremer: “Gidon’s personality is always there in my mind. It helps me, even when I am working on pieces intended for other musicians. And if Gidon becomes the ‘protagonist’ of my efforts and sufferings, that does something to lighten my lot. Because he knows how to give the thoughts I express a depth that you don’t detect when you examine the score visually.”