Tamvakos Archive (Greece)

sound collective
Divine Art dda 25149 (68:43)  

I listened to this superb CD several times and each time I discovered something new and even better.  This music is magnificent and goes straight to the heart.  I was so enthralled I wasn’t able to move and I didn’t want the music to stop.  I felt as if I’ve been transported to another dimension, outside this world.   Whilst Kakabadse’s idea to use all 4 members of the string family – rather than the classical string quartet set up – could be deemed a risk, the high quality of her compositions coupled with the outstanding performance by sound collective eradicate such thinking.   

All the tracks on this CD are excellent.  I particularly feel that The Coachman’s Terror is first-rate in comparison with similar works of this century.  Written in 5 movements, it’s full of Russian images, which take me back to Pushkin’s time and I just didn’t want it to end after 18 minutes. Images of immense musical beauty unfold thanks to the composer’s wonderful writing and they give the listener the opportunity to travel in a horse-drawn carriage of old through the vast snowbound landscape of the Russian steppe.  An amazing closing movement leaves a sense of nostalgia that is rare when listening to modern works.

Eldorado is very impressive and the mezzo-soprano, Jess Dandy, interprets Poe’s verses extremely well.   Also magical is the atmosphere created by the cello in Spellbound, based on Emily Bronte’s poem.

In Cantus Planus, made up of 3 movements and written in the Aeolian mode, there are elements of Greek Orthodox music.  This has become one of my favourite pieces and Kakabadse’s talent at writing in this style is supreme. 

Another outstanding work is Concertato with its exciting low-key dialogue between the cello and double bass.  Here the composer has chosen minor scales throughout to unexpectedly reveal sound landscapes, where a dreamy atmosphere dominates.

All in all, an exceptional album of heavenly music.  I highly recommend it as one of the best CD’s of the decade.  I am awaiting with bated breath and interest the next recording of this dear composer.

Thomas Tamvakos (June 2017)
Music critic – writer – researcher – archivist
Emeritus member of ‘Greek Composers Union’ 



Copyright © 2020 Lydia Kakabadse