Recorded and mixed May 2010
Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Additional recordings at Latvijas Radio, Riga
Final editing, master
Giya Kancheli's Music for Stage and Screen
Tracks 1, 20: Film by Revaz Chkheidze (1980)
Track 2: Film by Sergei Bodrov (2002)
Track 3: Play by Arthur Miller, directed by Robert Sturua (1965)
Track 4: Play by William Shakespeare, directed by Robert Sturua (1978)
Tracks 5, 8, 16: Film by Revaz Chkheidze (1988)
Tracks 6, 13, 19: Play by William Shakespeare, directed by Robert Sturua (1992)
Track 7: Play by William Shakespeare, directed by Robert Sturua (1989)
Track 9: Film by Georgi Danelia and Revaz Gabriadze (1986)
Track 10: Play by Tamaz Chiladze, directed by Robert Sturua (1979)
Track 11: Play by William Shakespeare, directed by Robert Sturua (2001)
Track 12: Film by Liana Eliava (1977)
Track 14: Play by William Shakespeare, directed by Robert Sturua (1979)
Track 15: Film by Georgi Danelia and Revaz Gabriadze (1977)
Track 17: Flim by Lana Gogoberidze (1972)
Track 18: Film by Eldar Shengelaia and Revaz Gabriadze (1973)
Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra
Over the course of his career Giya Kancheli has written scores for over 100 films and plays, and in 2009 he gathered some of the music into a songbook, Simple Music for Piano: 33 Miniatures from Music for Stage and Screen. As a surprise for the composer's 75th birthday, his son and producer Manfred Eicher initiated a project with violinist Gidon Kremer, bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi, and vibraphonist Andrei Pushkarev to arrange and record an album of selections from the songbook. The original music was written over a span of almost 40 years, between 1965 and 2002, but there is a remarkable consistency in style and tone. The vast majority of the pieces recorded here have a mellow, semi-improvisatory, Latinate mood that is frequently reminiscent of Piazzolla at his freest. The prevailing sentiment of gentle melancholy makes for an album with a consistent tone. (It works beautifully as an album listening experience, but it's a little odd that the music is so unvaried for plays and films as diverse as The Crucible, As You Like It, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and Don Quixote, but that may have to do with the fact that it is re-scored for this chamber ensemble.) Each of the soloists is a star, but they put their egos at the service of the music and play with admirable sensitivity to each other, and the result is an exceptionally well-integrated ensemble. ECM's sound is impeccable. The album should interest anyone who wants to hear the composer's work in a lighter, more pop-influenced vein, and also fans of music in the mood of a very mellow Piazzolla.
All Music Guide
A very special album for Giya Kancheli's 75th birthday. When starting out on his career as a creator of symphonic and chamber music, the Georgian composer also wrote much incidental music for the theatre and the cinema. Though still little-known in the West, the film music was widely heard across the former Soviet Union and the themes here (there are 20 on the album) enjoyed great popularity.
ECM decided to invite Dino Saluzzi to revisit Kancheli's music for stage and screen, in his personal and highly creative way. Simultaneously Gidon Kremer, an old friend and champion of Kancheli's music, also expressed an interest in doing something special for Giya's birthday. With both Kremer and Saluzzi on board, the project took on new dimensions. Finding links between the worlds - Kancheli's, Kremer's, and Saluzzi's - is a task adroitly handled by Pushkarev. The vibraphonist, who works often with Kremerata Baltica, prepared arrangements realized with Kremer in Riga, and also worked in Oslo with Saluzzi, intuitively supporting Dino's very relaxed approach to the material.
Here is a Giya Kancheli album like none before it, and with an unprecedented cast, featuring master musicians of different worlds - Argentine bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi and Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer. Mediating betwen those worlds, the gifted Ukrainian vibraphonist Andrei Pushkarev. Subtitled "Giya Kancheli's Music for Stage and Screen", the album was recorded in Oslo and Riga as a surprise 75th birthday present for the great Georgian composer, and it features inspired duo and trio interpretations of themes from Kancheli's early music. Like other composers of the former Soviet Bloc, Giya Kancheli 'subsidized' his art music by writing - prolifically - for theatre and cinema. If this was considered part of the craft of becoming a composer, Kancheli went deeper into the subject than many of his contemporaries. He formed strong associations with playwrights and directors and his 'incidental' music was widely heard - in the East.
In 2009 Kancheli published "Simple Music for Piano" a songbook reprising melodies written over a long period, some dating back to the 1960s and 70s. From the composer's foreword. "While dedicating myself to symphonic and chamber music, I simultaneously wrote music for the stage and screen. No wonder, then, that certain themes originally intended for plays and films made their way into my larger works or that the large forms themselves sometimes contained episodes reminiscent of incidental music. I myself can't always remember where a particular theme first appeared, not least because the vast majority of more than a hundred of the films and plays for which I wrote music have now passed into history. So I have decided to revive some lost fragments in this collection of miniatures. Time will tell if they can survive outside their original context. Meanwhile, I'll allow myself to give a little advice to anyone interested in these humble sketches. The simplicity of presentation does not preclude but rather encourages freedom of interpretation, particularly for those with a gift for improvising. Strict adherence to tempo markings, dynamic indications and performance instructions is by no means obligatory. You can play as many of these pieces as you like, in the sequence of your choice..."
At ECM the call for "freedom of interpretation and improvisation" sounded like a personal message to Dino Saluzzi, the Argentine bandoneon poet and composer whose expressive freedom is legendary. With Giya's 75th birthday looming, Manfred Eicher suggested recording some Saluzzi interpretations of Kancheli by way of a personal tribute. Meanwhile Gidon Kremer, a lomg time Kancheli supporter had also been contemplating a Kancheli tribute, based around the film music...
With both Kremer and Saluzzi involved, the project took on new dimensions. Vibraphonist, Andrey Pushkarev, who works often with Kremerata Baltica prepared arrangements of Kancheli which were realized with Kremer in Riga, and he also worked in Oslo with Saluzzi, intuitively supporting Dino's very relaxed approach to the material.
A further surprise at the end of the album is a vocal track by Jansug Khakidze. Last heard on ECM on Garbarek's "Rites", the late singer/conductor was a close friend of Kancheli. Here he is a heard with the theme song from the original soundtrack of the Georgian film "Earth, This Is Your Son".
Nine of the featured themes derive from Kancheli's collaborations with internationally acclaimed theatre director Robert Sturua. There are also themes from films by Georgi Danelia, Eldar Shengelaia, Sergei Bodrov, Lana Gogoberidze and others.