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The Power of Single Tones: Enthusiastic CD Review

in the Neue Musikzeitung

The CD "Music from Tajikistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia" was recently issued by Arte Nova / BMG (Arte Nova / BMG 74231 82556 2). The works contained on it include the 3rd Symphony of Avet Terterian, the piece "Nola" by Benjamin Yusupov and the orchestral work "... la Duduki" by Giya Kancheli, played by the Dresden Symphony under Michael Helmrath.

In the current issue of the Neue Musikzeitung (October 2002), Mtys Kiss published a review excerpts of which we should like to cite:

"Unusual ... simply for the reason that music from such out-of-the-way places in the world, which tend to appear in the headlines more for warlike occurrences than cultural achievements, is at best interpreted by fellow-countrymen and (rarely) preserved on recordings. The long famous Georgian from Tiflis, Giya Kancheli, is the exception to the rule; his " ... la Duduki," a bleak mourning-music full of jagged dynamic leaps, alludes to an oboe-like instrument that is "associated with the sound of the human soul." As the comparison with the ECM studio version shows, the Dresden musicians bring the monolithic piece across the floodlights with astonishingly few losses. (...)

"The Third Symphony of the Armenian Avet Terterian (1929-94) is honoured here in the discography for the third time. Besides the zurna familiar in Turkish music, the duduk conjured up by Terterian's friend Kancheli sounds completely realistic here. Terterian transposes archaic sounds into the context of advanced processes such as clusters and aleatoric music in an eclectic but completely independent and compelling manner. He trusts in the power of single tones, able to develop all the more suggestively since they are flanked by heavy storms in the percussion.

"The considerably younger Tajik, Benjamin Yusupov (born 1962), hails from a far more easterly area. He appears in western catalogues for the first time with "Nola," a concerto for various flutes and orchestra written in 1994. Through the refined use of microphones - a little like in the late works of Luigi Nono - the tones and playing noises of the flute appear as if under an electro-acoustic magnifying glass. They develop an almost orchestral fullness of sound, making a gripping dialogue with the actual orchestra possible."