Echoes Of Time
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Lisa Batiashvilis debut album for Deutsche Grammophon ECHOES OF TIME is a matter of the heart an unusual, very individual and fascinating program by one of the most appreciated young soloists of our days. Lisa focuses her program on composers whose lives and works have been heavily influenced by the political happenings and oppressions in former Soviet Union like Lisa herself, who went into German exile with her family during the political upheaval in Georgia in 1991. in a program spanning the whole 20th century, Lisas album combines classics by Shostakovich and Rachmaninov with two more recent works her Georgian compatriot Giya Kanchelis highly atmostpheric "V&V" and Estonian Arvo Parts spiricual "Spiegel im Spiegel for Violin and Piano", written shortly before the composer went into exile.
Digital Booklet: Echoes of Time
Digital Booklet: Echoes of Time
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V & V for violin and taped voice with string orchestra
Spiegel im Spiegel
Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14
with Hélène Grimaud (piano)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 99
Lyric Waltz (Dances of the Dolls)
Now that the Shostakovich Cto. #1 has become standard fare in the concert hall everywhere, violinists rush to say something new, or at least on a par with the greats who have preceded them, in particular David Oistrakh and Maxim Vengerov. I'd also rate young Sergey Khachatryan's recording as one of the most powerful and original. All three are intensely emotional, but on that count Batiashvili must contend with the coolness of her conductor, Salonen, who smooths out the textures and makes Shstakovich's writing elegant and understated. Thus a first movement that is serenely without mystery and a Scherzo that is quick on its feet but not biting or slashing. the soloist seems to be like-minded, so there's no clash of temperaments. the heart of this concerto is the wrenching Passacaglia, with its long solo bridge to the finale, a passage made unforgettable by Oistrakh, for whom it was written. It's gratifying that Batiashvili steps up emotionally here, although she is still restrained and doesn't dig viscerally into the instrument's lower strings. Struggle and agony don't seem to be in her vocabulary, at least not overtly. Call this a more meditative reading.
Giya Kancheli is a fellow Georgian, and Batiashvili has made a consistent effort to bring her homeland's culture forward. I used to hear a lot more of Kancheli in the Nineties, when they were all considered spiritually inclined. This implies spare transparency and the evocation of reverential moods. Of course, composing is more com;lex than that, but here we have an 11 min. work for violin, strings, and taped voice that comes close to fitting the spiritual stereotype. Its lyrical lines are long, slow, and all but suspended in tie. The idiom is very accessible; it's up to the individual listener to decide if there's any substance behind the aural effects. Kancheli says of his "relatively small piece," "I tried to confront the Eternal (the Divine voice) and the Real (the soloing violin and the string orchestra."
Of similar inclination is Arvo Part, who has made his reputation with spare, transparent works that gaze heavenward. Composed in 1978, fairly early for him,'Spiegel im Spiegel' (Mirror in the Mirror) for violin and piano has been one of Part's more frequently recorded works. Also 11 min. long, it opens with the simplest tonic triad in the piano and a slow, intermittent violin melody. Part refers to this as his tintinabular (bell-like) style, relating it to mystical experiences of liturgical chant. Once again, it's up to each listener to go into mystical transport or wonder about emperors and new clothes. Hiring Helene Grimaud to play single-handed triads is a nice bit of overkill.
She reappears for Rachmaninov's evergreen Vocalise, transcribed for violin. Here there's more artistry to show, and both pianist and violinist give a refined account of their parts, with a sure sense of how a lush romantic tune should go. finally, a waltz from Shostakovich, "Dance of the dolls" turned out with a gentle orchestral part to accompany the lilting melody. So the program may seem a bit daunting on the surface but is actually as approachable as a pops concert except for the Shostakovich concerto, assuming that you are somewhat serious about what constitutes popular classical music. Throughout Batiashvili is stylish and skilled, but I kept feeling that the wattage needed to be turned up. NO doubt others will be completely satisfied.
Among the other well chosen pieces on the disc, I particularly enjoyed the Arvo Part "Spiegel im Spiegel" which she plays with Helene Grimaud on piano. If you do not like the Minimalist style of Part's music, think again and listen to this charming and attractive music.
Without question this is a recording to be recommended and listened to often.
This is a superb recording both in content and in execution. She opens with the Shostakovich Violin Concerto no. 1 in A minor, plumbing the depths of the pathos of the piece while being able to make the puckish elements dance. This is followed by a rarely played work by fellow Georgian composer Giya Kancheli, 'V & V', a fascinating work the composer describes as follows: 'In my third symphony the vocal part was performed and recorded by a famous Georgian popular singer - Mr. H. Gonashvili. The uniqueness and distinctiveness of his voice (Mr. H. Gonashvili tragically died in an accident in 1988) have inspired me to use the recording of his voice in my new composition "V&V." In this relatively small piece I tried to confront the Eternal (the Divine voice) and the Real (the soloing violin and the string orchestra).' Thus this is a work for taped voice, violin and orchestra and the mood is mesmerizing.
After a performance of Shostakovich's 'Lyrical Waltz from Seven Dolls', a slight but entertaining bit of fluff, Batiashvili collaborates with Esa-Pekka Salonen (close friends and frequent musical partners) and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for these works. Lisa Batiashvili then steps to the front of the piano of another friend Hélène Grimaud and together they offer Arvo Pärt's gentle and subtle 'Spiegel im Spiegel for Violin and Piano' and Rachmaninov's very well-known and well-loved 'Vocalise'. The positioning of each of these works on the recording suggests an elegance of programming. The performances of this Russian/Estonian statement are splendid. This album is that rare combination of taste, musical integrity, and exquisite playing. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, February 11