The Kremerata Baltica play Kancheli

'This music works only if its simplicity is expressed in the most complex and wide-ranging spectrum of tone, colour and dynamics'

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Kancheli
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Kancheli
WORKS: Chiaroscuro; Twilight
PERFORMER: Gidon Kremer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin); Kremerata Baltica
CATALOGUE NO: 481 1784

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It would be easy to accuse Kancheli of writing the same piece over and over again – easy but fruitless. The musical gestures and discontinuities are hallmarks of his style, with lush passages giving way to sudden outbursts, and rarely what might be considered musical direction over a long span. Yet it is strangely compelling: the brief musical phrases are fascinating in themselves, and he has an unerring sense of timing in assembling them. That needs to be mirrored by his interpreters, who have to bring complete authority to the slow-moving harmonies, and not be afraid to leave the many silences to speak for themselves.

Technically, this music works only if its simplicity is expressed in the most complex and wide-ranging spectrum of tone, colour and dynamics, and that is what Gidon Kremer and his wonderful orchestra produce in Chiaroscuro, backed up by a superbly rich and detailed recording. Patricia Kopatchinskaja joins Kremer for the earlier Twilight, if anything an even more intense experience than Chiaroscuro, perhaps because it came after a life-threatening illness for the composer. Whatever the reason, the outbursts against the dying of the light are even more intense, and the consolation of the quieter music even more heart-warming.

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Martin Cotton