Kim Kashkashian / Tigran Mansurian

Tigran Mansurian: Monodia

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The intense music of Tigran Mansurian is well-served by this handsome ECM double-disc. Largely through the efforts of violist Kim Kashkashian, an ardent advocate of Mansurian's work, this album serves as a portrait of the composer and as evidence of this performer's unswerving commitment. Mansurian's works are serious essays built on Armenian folk songs and ancient chants, elaborated in a consistent, modernist language. Dense strata and aggressive outbursts mark "...and then I was in time again," Mansurian's Concerto for viola and orchestra. Kashkashian and the Munich Chamber Orchestra, directed by Christoph Poppen, convey the work's tragic import and pensive detachment with great sensitivity. Leonidas Kavakos is the heroic soloist in the Concerto for violin and string orchestra, a work of more conventional soloistic writing, yet effective in its agitation and passionate expression. Lachrymae features Jan Garbarek on soprano saxophone in an intertwined duet with Kashkashian. Perhaps because of its brevity and thin material, this piece is the least compelling of the disc. In Confessing With Faith, for viola and four voices, the Hilliard Ensemble joins Kashkashian in what is the most immediately accessible work, since traditional choral textures and modal harmonies underpin Kashkashian's moving part. ECM's sound is superb, with attention paid to capturing the live acoustic without blurring lines.

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