“Whether as calm background or for intense listening this disc is a gem.“.
“Heavenly Violin and Piano Music by Giya Kancheli“
For this reviewer, my relationship with the music of Giya Kancheli (1935- ) began with the symphonies (I think there’s seven now) with the character of some outrageous dynamic contrasts such that they spawned warning levels on the package containing the CD. It was only after that, when ECM began to release the “holy minimalist” type works, that I first heard those.
Now comes Canadian violinist Frederic Bednarz who, along with pianist Natsuki Hiratsuka and bandoneon player Jonathan Goldman have recorded some incredibly lovely chamber music which has not been previously released or widely distributed.
Well its hard to say why these have not been widely heard because they are just beautiful. These are miniatures, all clock in at less than 4 minutes but all have a certain charm that relies neither on the dynamic range or the “holy minimalist” meme. These are simply delightful neo-romantic pieces that could not fail to charm a recital audience.
Bednarz clearly knows and loves these little gems. His playing is both sincere and, I think, definitive. In this album he shows this lesser known aspect of the composer’s work. Certainly there have been releases of Kancheli’s chamber orchestra pieces and a string quartet but this is the first recording this reviewer has heard of the violin and piano (and bandoneon) music.
Doubtless there are musical and musicological aspects to this music which escape the average listener (this one included) so no attempt will be made here to analyze these works. Bednarz provides concise but useful liner notes in the gatefold cover to the CD.
Once again our neighbors to the north have scaled the metaphorical art barrier between our adjacent countries to bring this delightful music to light. It is a welcome addition to the Kancheli discography and a delight in your CD player. Whether as calm background or for intense listening this disc is a gem.
N.B. As of this writing the physical disc does not appear to be available from Amazon but it is available through the usual streaming services. If you can get the physical disc it is worth it for the notes though.
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