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“Twilight” in Salzburg: New Work by Giya Kancheli Receives Premiere

The Georgian composer Giya Kancheli’s “Twilight” for 2 violins, string orchestra and synthesizer received its world premiere performance on 27 January 2005 in Salzburg with Gidon Kremer, Thomas Zehetmair and the Kremerata Baltica. The work was commissioned by the Mozarteum International Foundation.

We asked the composer about the meaning of the work’s mystical title. Here is Kancheli’s answer:

“Whenever I look out from my desk in Antwerp, where I have now been living and working for the past ten years, I see several unusually beautiful poplars, as high as towers. Their appearance changes according to the season. Towards the end of summer they are covered with a thick, green “carpet.” The first openings of light appear towards the end of autumn, their sudden colourful magnificence notwithstanding. These gaps become broader with the approaching winter; viewed through the bare braches, a perspective begins to reveal itself, losing itself in infinity. Since I have just survived a serious illness, such wonders of nature bring to mind comparisons with human life. We normally pay little or no attention to our health problems. But then, one day, we are visited by a serious danger. Our life literally hangs by a thread and our continued survival is made possible only when different circumstances come together – even though this is only temporary, compared to my poplars. These thoughts were in my mind whilst composing the work commissioned by Salzburg, which I then, not without reason, entitled “Twilight.”