Music for piano and cello of simple melodies and lovable charm by three modern composers from Georgia and Armenia.
The pianist George Vatchnadze was born in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi but now lives and works in Chicago as Professor of Piano at DePaul University School of Music, having studied with several renowned artists from his homeland such as Alexander Toradze. As winner of prestigious competitions including the Gina Bachauer Competition in 1994, he has given concerts across Europe and the US with the likes of Valery Gergiev and Gianandrea Noseda.
For this album he has gathered together 33 short pieces drawn from the huge oeuvre of film music composed by the greatest Georgian composer of our time, Giya Kancheli. In each piece he outlines the directorial view of a given play or a movie, and not always emphasising the condition of sorrow or nostalgia to which most of Kancheli’s music aspires. In these distillations of the written for Eldar Shelgelaya’s movies The Eccentrics, Extraordinary Exhibition and The Blue Mountains, there is a distinctive flavour of joy even in the presence of sorrow, in the mould of Georgian art by painters such as Pirosmani. Kancheli’s music for productions of Shakespeare such as King Lear and Romeo and Juliet is more lyrical, still inflected with Georgian character.
The miniatures are paired with a pair of works for cello and piano. The Five Pieces on Folk Themes are among the most popular works of the Georgian composer Sultan Tsintsadze, belonging to a tradition of such pieces written by composers as far afield as Schumann and de Falla. Receiving here its first internationally distributed recording is the Cello Sonata by Ruben Altunyan, born in 1939. In his three-movement Sonata he quotes the famous Georgian folk song Tsin Tskharo, thus unifying the album in a celebration of Georgia’s rich musical culture.
Giya Kancheli (1935-2019) was a Georgian composer whose intensely personal style was closely related to Minimalism and Spiritualism. He possesses a unique vision of the universe. Despite the fact that many of his compositions reflect tragic events of the modern world, they somewhat suggest turning away from horrors of war and call for return to a true meaning of life – the all-embracing love. The roots of his music are closely related with Georgian folk melos despite the fact that there are no direct quotations.
The 33 Miniatures are inspired by plays or films by authors ranging from William Shakespeare to Samuel Becket and other contemporaries. The music is haunting in its simplicity (it is called “simple music for piano”) and touches deep chords of human emotions in the heart.
In addition to the Kancheli works we hear works for cello and piano by Georgian composers Sulkhan Tsintsadze and Ruben Altunyan, played by cellist Suren Bagratuni.
Goerge Vatchnadze is a native from Georgia, he has appeared at prestigious festivals like Salzburg, Mariinsky, Ravenna, Hollywood Bowl, under conductors like Valery Gergiev and Gianandrea Noseda. He is a winner of the Bachauer Piano Competition.