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Giya Alexandrovich Kancheli (1935-2019)


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dhibbard
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« on: October 05, 2019, 03:43:23 am »

Giya Alexandrovich Kancheli (1935-2019)


by David Smith
Giya KancheliThe Georgian composer Giya Kancheli has died at the age of 84 in his home city of Tbilisi. One of the most recognised and acclaimed classical voices from his home country, he belonged to a generation of Soviet-born composers who lived through, and were influenced by, the tumultuous dissolution of the USSR and independence of many of its constituent republics.

Kancheli’s earlier works explore a modernist, often dissonant style that led to friction with the cultural authorities of the time (though often seeming to retain more of an affection for consonant, melodic elements than some of his contemporaries, even in early works such as his wind quintet from the 1960s). Much of his music was composed for the cinema, often seen by adventurous Soviet composers as an area where censorship was less rigorously imposed and new ideas could be explored more freely; over five decades of film soundtracks, from drama to comedy to the offbeat science fiction adventure Kin-dza-dza, attest to his gift in matching music to screenplay time and again against a fast-changing cultural backdrop.

His later compositions increasingly embrace what might be called the New Tonality, with a stronger element of “traditional”, accessible harmony, though always coloured by his national heritage – after fleeing the chaos of post-independence Georgia in 1991, Kancheli came to express themes of exile and loss, both personal and national, in his music. Works such as Styx and With a Smile for Slava pay tribute to deceased fellow Soviet composers Avet Terterian and Alfred Schnittke, and giant of the cello Mstislav Rostropovich, while À la Duduki evokes the piercing reed sounds of the Caucasian duduk in a slow-burning but intense meditation on the tribulations of his homeland.

Kancheli was also a gifted miniaturist, writing small-scale gems for violin and piano as well as for piano solo and for voice; his Kviteli Potlebi (Yellow Leaves), an understatedly sentimental three-minute vocal piece, is surely one of his most widely-known and enduringly popular compositions, with a simplicity and directness that few can match.
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dhibbard
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2019, 02:55:15 pm »

I am surprised that no one saw this before me.... I am usually the last person to read this.... my music magazines I used to get have long expired.
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Alex Bozman
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2019, 08:14:07 pm »

Sad news. I haven't listened to Kanchelli for a while. Liked the symphonies, no 4 a particular favourite, but found it hard to get to grips with some of his later work.
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