“well-crafted program that invites us into an intimate atmosphere of character and emotion, of beautiful melody sung by violin in its purest, sweetest voice and piano both assertive and seductive.”
“Artistic Quality: 10 Sound Quality: 10“
You’re in a café, a quiet little out of the way place. The sudden sound of violin and piano, perhaps later a bandonéon, playing a sweet, romantic tune creates the perfect atmosphere for evening romance, contemplation, or just enjoying the wine and the solitude (sound clips). This is not the sort of music you might expect from Georgian composer Giya Kancheli, who most listeners know for his symphonic works or more “serious” chamber pieces, but then, most listeners probably are not aware of Kancheli’s extensive contributions as a composer of music for theatrical plays and film. Nor might they be familiar with his several dozen arrangements—”miniatures” for violin and piano, or for solo piano—of selections from that repertoire, which provided the material for this recording.
We hear pieces from plays and films such as Hamlet, Don Quixote, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Waiting for Godot (En attendant Godot), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and The Eccentrics. The mood, generally, is mellow, wistful, dreamy, with a sometimes pop-style/jazzy edge à la Michel Legrand or Francis Lai. But then, the mood can quickly change, as it does with the pounding piano chords announcing a theme from the film Kin-dza-dza! (sound clip), for which I cannot resist a description: Kin-dza-dza! is a “1986 Soviet-Russian-Georgian sci-fi dystopian tragicomedy cult film,” heralded by more than one critic as perhaps the best science fiction film you’ve never heard of. The story involves a couple of Muscovites (one of whom is a violinist) who get transported to the planet Pluke in the galaxy of the title. It’s certainly not Shakespeare, nor Beckett, but it does make you curious, no? (Not to get too carried away, here, but you can actually watch it online.)
There are a few other mood-shifting moments, including an alternately playfully sensuous and raunchy piece for bandonéon, violin, and piano titled Instead of a Tango, but this is a well-crafted program that invites us into an intimate atmosphere of character and emotion, of beautiful melody sung by violin in its purest, sweetest voice and piano both assertive and seductive. Definitely an unusual disc, but this trio—Frédéric Bednarz (violin), Natsuki Hiratsuka (piano), and Jonathan Goldman (bandonéon)—not only had the right idea in putting this together, but they may have created a demand for more. (Hint, hint.)
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