Kancheli: Little Imber; Amao Omi

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WORKS: Little Imber; Amao Omi
PERFORMER: Mamuka Gaganidze (voice),
Zaza Miminoshvili (guitar); Matrix Ensemble; Netherlands Chamber Choir; Rustavi Choir; Children’s Choir/Nika Memanishvili (keyboard); Raschèr Saxophone Quartet/Klaas Stok
CATALOGUE NO: 476 6394


Just before Christmas 1943 the people of Imber, an isolated village on Salisbury Plain, were told that the entire population would be evacuated to make way for military training. Most of the dwellings were replaced by blockhouses, whilst the rest fell into ruin. Only the church remained in anything like a useable state. In 2003 London-based co-operative Artangel staged an art installation-cum-theatrical event there. The buildings, bathed in yellow light, were pervaded with Kancheli’s music and there was a candlelit procession to the church where this recording of Little Imber was made. Kancheli makes less play here with dynamic extremes than in many earlier works, but still exploits startling juxtapositions of elements, poignant echoes of village life and its fragility in the face of powerful interests. Haunting song forms are used to considerable effect, as are the voices of the children’s choir and soloist Mamuka Gaganidze in subtly coloured orchestral settings. Amao Omi (‘senseless war’) is unmistakably the work of the same imagination, skilfully blending chamber choir with saxophones, creating a cool yet compassionate piece. But be prepared: this one does include some of Kancheli’s shock forte interjections into a piano environment. Barry Witherden