This year, the Nostalgia Festival will begin with a special concert, intended to take us back to the works of Giya Kancheli which we presented last year. Unfortunately, the concert will, in a way, be an epitaph to the Georgian composer who passed away on 2 October. During the concert, violist Marcin Murawski and pianist Nino Jvanii will play Kancheli’s 18 miniatures for violin and piano (the violin part has been transcribed to the viola).
Kancheli’s Miniatures are an independent and self-sufficient piece of chamber music, but also a cross-section of themes which the composer wrote for film and theatre. In some cases, a miniature may contain themes from more than one film or play. Apart from music written for plays by William Shakespeare (for instance As You Like it, King Lear or Hamlet), we will also listen to themes from the films Bear’s Kiss, The Eccentrics and Kin-dza-dza!, to mention a few.
Although based on a diversity of concepts, Miniatures form a consistent whole. The individual elements are different in nature: some are quite cheerful, or even vibrant, whilst others are dark and reflective. Nonetheless, all are minimalist, as expected of Kancheli. The accompaniment is often based on spread-out chords, whilst the viola part features repetitive, uncomplicated structures. Noteworthy is the melancholy sound of Miniature no. 5, followed by the provocative, danceable Miniature no. 6, and then Miniature no. 7, which brings us back to a yearning mood interlaced with hope in a major key. Against these elements, we are surprised by Miniature no. 10 and Miniature no. 11: the first featuring brisk pizzicatos, and the second spinning like a merry-go-round. Despite their short duration, each part carries a concentrated dose of emotions, which from the perspective of the whole hour-long piece, create a very small universe enclosing the most important attributes of Kancheli’s music: simplicity, humour and reflection with a touch of ineffable melancholy.
Marcin Murawski’s and Nino Jvanii’s performance will be the first ever rendition of Kancheli’s Miniatures on the viola and piano. Without doubt, the warm and low timbre of Murawski’s instrument will bring out even more nostalgia in the emotional pieces, whilst adding an additional dose of humour to those that convey a touch of irony or amusement.