GMCD 7279 – Kartuli Musika – Music from Georgia by Nassidse, Loboda & Zinzadse

The Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt, Markus Poschner – Conductor

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MusicWeb Friday October 01 04

This trio of Georgian works proves diverting listening. Influences are clear but individuality is still potent.
Three Georgian composers – and three chamber compositions. Since the names are, at least to me, unfamiliar and the notes aren’t exactly extensive it makes for a kind of “blind listening.” The first composer, Sulchan Nassidse, was born in 1927 and wrote three symphonies and two piano concertos amongst much else. His Chamber Symphony No.3 of 1969 is a one-movement work that falls into four sections throughout its eighteen or so minutes’ length. The romantic start with its Shostakovich imprint and the hints too of neo-classicism soon break down; the lost momentum recovers and we hear folk dance lurching heavily and sinuously before a very concentrated moment of introspection and intensity comes over the music and a rather morose Maestoso that does gradually lighten with little flecking and vocalised tints. Certainly aware of Shostakovitch – and Bartók in the animated sections – Nassidse had also lent an ear to Stravinsky.

Loboda was born in 1956 and contributes a cryptic few sentences concerning his Concert Ballade – or maybe not, it’s hard to tell. From the opening baleful bassoon this work balances the ostensible two soloists – violin, cello – in the orchestral sound texture, which in this recording is quite echo-y. Strings in the first movement are, to me at least, unambiguously Mahlerian whilst the glints of an emergent Waltz in the second are as if in ghostly slow motion. The solo strings are rather withdrawn over the hallucinatory lightly orchestrated chamber orchestra’s pizzicati. The bassoon and clarinet solos add piquant colour before the patterns of a baroque figure lead into the Allegro agitato – and some bristling attaca. The Passacaglia finale has elements of mildly ironic wind writing before growing more coiled and intense – and ending in an Andante sostenuto with a quiet ascending scale.

The last work is the lightest, Zinzadse’s Miniatures. These were arranged from string quartet by the composer and are based on Georgian folk songs. They are undated here but come from varying times in his compositional life; fresh, enjoyable, colourful and not at all quixotic or complex. There’s especial charm in the fourth, fine melodic impress in the seventh (and witty pizzicatos) and an open-air feel to the last.

This trio of Georgian works proves diverting listening. Influences are clear but individuality is still potent. Good performances – occasionally too thick an acoustic and rather skimpy notes.
Jonathan Woolf