Giya Kancheli: 18 Miniatures & Middelheim is the title of a DELOS album that features a charming collection of miniatures for piano trio.  About to be released in just a matter of days, the DE 3589 recording brings to the attention of record collectors the work of the late Georgian composer Giya Kancheli, in this instance 18 gems played to perfection by Piet Koornhof, violin, Albie van Schalkwyk, piano, and Susan Mouton, cello. Also included is Middelheim, a piece which occupies the last of the album’s 19 tracks, named by its composer after the staff of a German hospital that more than once saved his life.

Kancheli’s music is unabashedly Romantic, often melancholy, now-and-then mischievously humorous, born for the cinema and the stage, to both of which the composer repeatedly contributed incidental music. Often one might hear a strain of the composer’s Caucasian ethnic roots in the use of a plangent minor mode or an unpredictable harmonic turn, but by and large Kancheli’s music is harmonically and melodically anchored in the Central European, post Romantic tradition.

Giya Kancheli lived in his native Tbilisi during the worst years of Soviet cultural repression. With the dissolution of the old USSR in 1991, he managed to broaden his horizons, remaining active and prolific until his death in 2019. With this enchanting cd Delos has rendered homage to a neglected composer whose work deserves to be re-discovered and once again heard.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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