TRE VOCI / ECM New Series 2345 player
Kashkashian / Magen / Piccinini
Takemitsu / Debussy / Gubaidulina
Kim Kashkashian, who won a Grammy last year with her solo viola Kurtág/Ligeti disc, returns with a new trio. Tre Voci includes Italian-American flutist Marina Piccinini and Israeli harpist Sivan Magen. All three musicians have been acknowledged for bringing a new voice to their instruments. Kashkashian, Piccinini and Magen first played together at the 2010 Marlboro Music Festival, and agreed that the potential of this combination was too great to limit it to a single season. Since then they have been developing their repertoire. On this compelling first release it revolves around Debussy’s 1915 “Sonata for flute, viola and harp” and its influence, most directly felt in Takemitsu’s shimmering “And then I knew ’twas wind”.
Debussy himself had been profoundly moved by his encounter with music of the East and in his last works was emphasizing tone-colour, texture and timbre and a different kind of temporal flow. In this music, the elasticity of Debussy’s feeling for time (as Heinz Holliger observed) pointed far into the future and to the works of Boulez. And indeed to the music of Sofia Gubaidulina, whose “Garden of Joys and Sorrows” makes its own reckoning with orient and occident. Gubaidulina has said that she considers herself "a daughter of two worlds, whose soul lives in the music of the East and the West".
As Jürg Stenzl points out in the liner notes, hardly any composer of his generation was more greatly affected by the discovery of Debussy's music than Tōru Takemitsu: “This largely self-taught composer had already studied a broad range of recent 'western' musics before he turned to the 'classical' traditions of his native Japan. The late work ‘And then I knew 'twas Wind’ scored for the same instruments as Debussy's second sonata, is especially characteristic of his understanding of music” and emphasizes what Takemitsu called “the vibrant complexity of sound as it exists in the instrument”. His composition resembles Debussy's in its free and rhapsodic form, but unlike Debussy's 'musique pure', Takemitsu's title relates to a poem by Emily Dickinson:
“Like Rain it sounded till it curved / And then I knew ‘twas Wind – / It walked as wet as any Wave / But swept as dry as sand – / When it had pushed itself away / To some remotest Plain …”
Sofia Gubaidulina’s “Garten von Freuden und Traurigkeiten” (“Garden of Joys and Sorrows”) also draws upon lyric poetry for inspiration. The work concludes with a recitation of a poem by Austrian-born writer Francisco Tanzer, but its title comes from a text by the Moscow poet Iv Oganov. The vivid imagery of Oganov’s poem makes itself forcefully felt in Gubaidulina’s work: “The lotus was set aflame by music / The white garden began to ring again with diamond borders.” The composer, in her words, was compelled to a concrete aural perception of this garden, explored at length in the music. As with Takemitsu the flow of the work retains an improvisational freshness, and the combined sound-colours of viola, harp and flute are as beguiling as in the Debussy sonata.
Tre Voci’s album was recorded in April, 2013 at the Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano, and produced by Manfred Eicher. It is released in time for a European tour with a programme including music of Debussy, Takemitsu and Gubaidulina. For details visit www.ecmrecords.com
Kim Kashkashian is recognized internationally as a unique voice on the viola. A staunch proponent of contemporary music, she has developed creative relationships with György Kurtág, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Giya Kancheli and Arvo Pärt and premiered commissioned works by Peter Eötvös, Betty Olivero, Ken Ueno, Thomas Larcher, Lera Auerbach and Tigran Mansurian.
In addition to Tre Voci, Kashkashian has ongoing duo partnerships with pianist Robert Levin and with percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky. As soloist she has appeared with the orchestras of Berlin, London, Vienna, Milan, New York and Cleveland in collaboration with Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta, Franz Welser-Möst, Zoltán Kocsis, Dennis Russell Davies, Herbert Blomstedt, David Robertson and Heinz Holliger.
Kim Kashkashian’s association with ECM since 1985 has resulted in a rich discography which includes the viola sonatas of Hindemith and Brahms, an album of Argentinian songs, the concertos of Schnittke, Bartók, Penderecki and Kurtág, as well as the Bach viola da gamba sonatas, recorded with Keith Jarrett. Kim Kashkashian lives in Boston, where she teaches chamber music and viola at New England Conservatory.
Marina Piccinini, once described by Gramophone as “the Heifetz of the flute”, performs as soloist with major orchestras including the Boston Symphony, the London Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Vienna Symphony. Since making acclaimed debuts in New York, London and Tokyo, she continues to perform as a recitalist and chamber musician around the globe, frequently collaborating with such artists as Andreas Haefliger, Mitsuko Uchida, the Tokyo, Brentano, Mendelssohn, and Takács quartets.
The first flutist to win Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant, she also won first prize in Canada’s CBC Young Performers Competition, and New York’s Concert Artists Guild International Competition, amongst many other awards. A graduate of The Juilliard School, her mentors include Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser and Aurèle Nicolet. She is Professor of Flute at the Peabody Institute in the USA and the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover, Germany.
Harpist Sivan Magen has appeared as a soloist across the US, South America, Europe and Israel, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw and the Vienna Konzerthaus, and with orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.
The only Israeli to have won the International Harp Contest in Israel and the 2012 Award Winner of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, Sivan is also an avid chamber musician, has performed at the Marlboro, Kuhmo, Giverny, and Jerusalem International Chamber Music festivals, with Musicians from Marlboro, and is a founding member of the award winning Israeli Chamber Project.