Recorded April 1994
Abii ne viderem' (I turned away so as not to see) is comprised of 3 pieces - 'Morning Prayers' and 'Evening Prayers' (from a four-part cycle titled "Life without Christmas"), which frame the middle section 'Abii ne viderem,' from which the CD takes its name. This beautiful music burns with spiritual poignancy, anguish, and memory of lost time and childhood. In 'Morning Prayers', how can four notes played simply and slowly on the piano - F#, D, E, D, accompanied in the base by seven slowly ascending notes of the D Major scale reveal such sorrow and resignation of heart? This is the miracle of Kancheli's music. Mixed into this 23 minute meditation is the haunting taped voice of a young boy, singing like a voice from a grave floating over the stillness, and a small melody reminiscent of a child's wind-up music box played on a what seems to be an electronically altered piano. 'Morning Prayers' alone is worth the price of the CD. Rarely does music reflect the almost unspeakable, numinous quality of human memory. 'Abii ne viderem' (beginning with agitated strings and ending with what seems like a ringing telephone) and 'Evening Prayers' (dedicated to Schnittke), 25 minutes and 19 minutes long respectively, are that Kancheli mix of subdued, if not ominous, dream-like spaces suddenly split (or attacked) by loud, even frightening irruptions, like gun shots in some cases, as if the delicate fabric of existence could be shattered at any moment (the extremes of dynamics in Kancheli's music - the loud/soft thing - can play havoc with a sound system's speakers.) The finely written liner notes (Kancheli's liner notes are always philosophical), place Kancheli's music alongside that of Part, Schnittke, Gubaidulina, Silvestrov, and rightly so. He is included in that spectacular pantheon of Eastern European composers who have given us such deeply moving and spiritually-charged music. The musicians are tops on this recording: Kim Kashkashian on viola, The Hilliard Ensemble, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.
- Desert Girl