Traditional Music of Georgia

COMPOSERS: Traditional Music of Georgia
ALBUM TITLE: Songs of Survival
WORKS: Traditional Music of Georgia
PERFORMER: Recordings by Michael Church
Georgian vocal polyphony is confounding in its inversion of musical time: the jarring dissonance and angular harmonies of ancient songs suggest parallels with contemporary music, while recently-composed sacred chorales can sound positively medieval. Michael Church’s panoramic two-disc survey of Georgian music includes the allegedly archaic as well as the newly composed, all splendidly performed by a variety of mostly young choirs recorded in Tbilisi and London. The best-known Georgian vocal genres – table songs, work songs, and liturgical chorales – were traditionally the exclusive province of men, but mixed choirs and even all-female groups have moved in on this repertoire, and turn out some of the finest performances on Songs of Survival. Church’s notes provide a helpful guide to often subtle musical innovations in a first-rate round-up of Georgian music today.Theodore Levin