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Kancheli: Styx; Tavener / Rysanov, Sirmais, Et Al

Release Date: 10/09/2007 
Label:  Onyx   Catalog #: 4023   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giya KancheliJohn Tavener
Performer:  Maxim RysanovRihards Zalupe
Conductor:  Maris Sirmais
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Liepaja Symphony OrchestraLatvian State ChoirKamer...,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Latvians topple the mighty in music that transfixes, scalds, then consoles

Another recording of Kancheli’s Styx while so many of his recent works await their first appearance on CD, and when the competition is from such big-name artists? Well, there are two justifications. First, the coupling is even more illuminating than DG’s Gubaidulina Concerto in terms of stylistic and spiritual affinity. Secondly, the performance itself is superior.

Maxim Rysanov’s viola has an inward, lamenting quality that Yuri Bashmet’s more conventionally projected manner misses. And it feels as though the chorus and orchestra (from Latvia’s third city) are
Read more living and breathing every note, whereas Gergiev and his Petersburgers are merely (!) giving a superb performance. Crucially, the acoustic of Riga’s Dome Cathedral has a rich resonance, wonderfully captured. The sound stage is as wide and deep as the music demands. Expressive extremes register as more abrupt, more startling and more challenging – harder-edged in their ecstasy. The music first transfixes, then scalds, and when consolation intervenes it feels multi-faceted and somehow palpably wise. The texts of Styx consist of a succession of names and words, all of profound and intimate significance to the composer. This performance made me really feel that significance.

The extraordinary qualities of Latvian choral singing – fullness of tone, legato and intense stillness – have been often extolled. In The Myrrh-Bearer there is the added advantage of the kind of basso profundo richness that I would imagine Tavener can only rarely have found in the UK. Whether his piece is perhaps a little too reliant on those subterranean tones, and whether the pairing with Kancheli reveals a slight thinness of invention, are suspicions that may either firm or fade with further acquaintance. In the meantime, all that seems important is to surrender to the urgency and fervour of another extraordinary performance.

In short, here is a disc to blow the mind of anyone already in tune with these composers, and possibly one that may even lead a few sceptics towards a Damascene conversion. It was a privilege to review.

-- David Fallows, Gramophone [11/2007]
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Works on This Recording

Styx by Giya Kancheli
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Rihards Zalupe (Percussion)
Conductor:  Maris Sirmais
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Liepaja Symphony Orchestra,  Latvian State Choir,  Kamer...
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999 
The Myrrh-Bearer by John Tavener
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Rihards Zalupe (Percussion)
Conductor:  Maris Sirmais
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Latvian State Choir,  "Kamer..."
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993 

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