Georgian orchestral music, like the music of other former Soviet and Eastern bloc countries, still tends to be regarded in the West as a special interest, supposedly less significant than better-known works of the European avant-garde and perhaps too fixated on nationalist folk elements to be considered sophisticated. Yet at least two of the works here challenge such prejudices and defy easy classifications. Sulchan Nassidse's brooding Chamber Symphony No. 3 may evoke Bartók or Shostakovich, yet at the same time certain passages show an acute awareness of more recent trends and may remind one of Górecki or late Penderecki. Igor Loboda's fully developed Concert Ballade for violin, cello and chamber orchestra admits lush harmonies and open tonality, both of which are very much in step with the times; but a sharp edge is maintained in his dissonant counterpoint, and the tension-filled duets between violinist Corinne Chapelle and cellist Alexander Suleiman sustain interest throughout. Only Sulchan Zinzadse's trite Miniatures for string orchestra stands apart, for the naïve scene painting and heavy reliance on folk tunes, à la Liszt or Enescu; few would give this banal suite the respect due to the first two pieces. The Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt, conducted by Markus Poschner, turns in concentrated and rugged performances, and Guild's sound quality is clear and vibrant.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson