Giya Kancheli Symphonies on CD

SYMPHONIES BY A GEORGIAN COMPOSER

KANCHELI COMPLETE SYMPHONIES: Tibilisi Symphony Orchestra / Kakhidze ★★★★

Georgian composer Giya Kancheli's music created a stir in the 1980s when a thaw in the cold war allowed music from the Soviet Union's satellite states to reach the west. His seven symphonies, and much more, were recorded by the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra under their long-time chief conductor, and Kancheli's close friend, Djansug Kakhidze. They mostly appeared on the Olympia label, now defunct, and have long been unavailable. Cugate Classics have remastered the original tapes in a five CD box set. His music was often compared to Arvo Part's "holy minimalism" but while both men are harmonically conservative, Kancheli extends his slow moving, hypnotic style to epic proportions – tedious or mystically enlightening according to taste. The five CDs are available separately and I'd advise newcomers to explore Mourned by the Wind, an often ravishingly beautiful work for solo viola and orchestra, or the haunting third symphony with soaring counter-tenor.

Norman Stinchcombe

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