In Rostropovich's introduction to this recording of two works by his compatriot, the Georgian composer Giya Kancheli, he says "I took everything from his [Kancheli's] speech. He says two words and stops, contemplates, says another two words and stops again. His natural element is the deepest sorrow". Kancheli's music has spiritual affinities with that of Pärt and Tavener--he strives to pare musical ideas down to their essences, to treat sounds like gems set in a ring of silence. In the first of the two pieces on this recording, (Simi
, subtitled "Joyless thoughts for violoncello and orchestra") Rostropovich is clearly in tune with this aim and approaches the music with a focused intensity which is mesmerising, treating each note as an opportunity to explore different musical colours. The second piece, Magnum Ignotum
, is scored for a small wind group and a tape of Georgian folk and religious music. The effect is other-worldly, beautifully textured and strangely haunting--especially in the mix of singing in untempered keys and traditional instrumental tones. --Warwick Thompson
The great Rostropovich puts his cello at the service of old friend Giya Kancheli: "I love this composer for his independence," Rostropovich says. "Olivier Messiaen revealed for me the limitlessness and endlessness of time, and the same is true for Kancheli." These premiere recordings feature inspired performances by the Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Jansug Kakhidze. Essential listening. If you like Magnum Ignotum, then you'd probably also like the albums: Lament, Exil, Abii ne Viderem, Trauerfarbenes Land and Vom Winde beweint.
Mstislav Rostropovich - (cello), Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra, Jansug Kakhidze - (conductor)