Kancheli: In I’istesso tempo; Time….and Again; V & V

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COMPOSERS: Kancheli
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Kancheli
WORKS: In I’istesso tempo; Time….and Again; V & V
PERFORMER: Gidon Kremer, Oleg Maisenberg, Kremerata Baltica, Bridge Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: 461 8182
Time… and Again is typical 1990s

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Kancheli, with fragments of melody

in a slow tempo emerging from

silence and retreating immediately.

Bars of melting beauty are followed

by outbursts of violence; tenuous

passages verging on inaudibility

contrasted with full-blooded

Romantic statements. For the music to

work, the players need an acute sense

of timing, and Gidon Kremer and

Oleg Maisenberg have a complete

command of the flow of events,

paying as much attention to silence as to sound. In V & V, Kancheli sets

Kremer against a prerecorded voice

and a string orchestra. There’s more

continuity here, but the music still

has only a tenuous presence: climaxes

are occasionally won, but they’re cut

off abruptly, and the whole piece

has the crazy logic of a beautiful

but disturbing dream. Again, the

performances inhabit this world with

absolute confidence.

The Bridge Ensemble is just as

sympathetic in the piano quartet

In l’istesso tempo: in some ways,

a more conventional piece in

its development, but one with

disturbing undercurrents. The

regular pulse is menacing rather than

comforting, and tonality a refuge,

not a certainty. Kancheli’s position

as a powerful and individual voice

is becoming more apparent with

each vividly recorded issue in ECM’s

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continuing series. Martin Cotton