Bob | Michigan's thumb, US | 08/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps I am not the only one whose introduction to Kashkashian's lovely viola was Jan Garbarek's "In Praise of Dreams." So, as I was seeking to feed a spiritual hunger among Amazon's classical offerings, as I dug around Part and Schnittke, Penderecki and Gorecki, suddenly among all the "more like this" appeared the name Kim Kashkashian: "Monodia." I clicked, and found that it includes a piece played with Garbarek on soprano sax, "Lachrymae." As the Amazon.com review says, their playing "often blurring the distinction between their instruments," reminds one of the Dreams exchanges.
If you followed Garbarek through his wonderful outings with the Hilliard Ensemble, "Officium" and "Mnemosyne", you'll be excited to note that the Hilliards perform here as well, with Kashkashian's mellow viola rather than Garbarek's sax. That alone made me hit the 1-click.
I do not know enough about composition to understand the title -- I cannot tell a monodic from a polyphonic, or any other, composition. [To further confuse me, in the liner notes the interviewer asks Kim K. about monody, and she points out that the composition under discussion, the Concerto for viola and orchestra, is not monodic...(?)] But the joy of hearing this music, the depth of feeling that the players display, make these issues seem academic to me. The feeling is there, name it if you must but most of all, experience it!
The rich experience of this spiritual music is a joy in itself, but ECM frosted the cake by packaging the 2 CD set with a full bi-lingual (ENG-DE) booklet, with plenty of photos. I have to admit I don't usually pay much attention to liner notes, but I found this booklet a wonderful touch.
This is not an inexpensive addition to your collection, but I found it worth every red cent."
A Very, Very Brief Review
Moldyoldie | Motown, USA | 02/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Beautiful, spiritual, redolent of Armenian liturgical chant, but hardly so-called world beat or new age. This is substantial enough for serious listening and tuneful enough to be enjoyable -- fine performances and recording!"