Gija Kancheli’s Music Erupts with Elisaveta Blumina

“An ascetic with the temperament of a maximalist; a restrained Vesuvius.” That’s how Roidon Shchedrin characterized Giya Kancheli. This Georgian composer certainly made his own path both in the Soviet Union and later in Belgium. And the description is apt.

This release presents some of Kancheli’s smaller works. The centerpiece are selections from his 18 Miniatures for Violin and Piano. Also included are four works for chamber orchestra. All seem ready to burst at the seams. The forces involved may be small.  But there’s energy in Kancheli’s music that can barely be contained. 

The most recent work is “A Little Daneliade for piano, strings, and percussion.” As with many of Kancheli’s works, it’s built around melodic fragments. These fragments join and separate in different ways throughout the piece. There’s a Kurt Weill cabaret sound to this work, and one the musicians lean into.

18 Miniatures for violin and piano show Kancheli’s lyrical gifts. His melodies borrow from folk and jazz. Yet they’re something more than their inspirations. Violinist Hartmus Chill and Elisaveta Blumina make a great team. Kancheli’s music is for two equal partners, not soloist/accompanist.

Chill and Blumina compliment each other’s playing. Their combined sound is delicate and perfectly balanced. And their performances show these works to be creations of real beauty. 

The album ends with the Largo and Allegro for piano, strings, and tympani. In this 1963 work, Vesuvius finally erupts. The allegro is fast and frantic.

Recommended for anyone with a taste for modern music.

Gija Kancheli: A Little Daneliade
Valse Boston; 18 Minatures; Largo and Allegro
Elisaveta Blumina, piano/conductor; Hartmus Chill, violin
Capriccio C5488

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