DDA 25149 CONCERTATO (original in German online at Pizzicato)
Lydia Kakabadse’s Russian/Georgian as well as Greek/Austrian descent, enriched by Arabian and medieval ideas, give birth to a an inspiring music mix. The Ensemble ‘sound collective’ as well as singer Jess Dandy prove committed and high-class performers.
In her quartet, the composer Lydia Kakabadse, who was born in England, replaced the second violin with a double bass. Overall, this deepest string instrument plays a special part in the program. The dark and substantial foundation of the sound opens up a special sound richness.
Another feature of her music is derived from her Russian / Georgian or Greek / Austrian ancestry, which she linked early in her life with both Greek and Russian Orthodox culture. Further cultural inspiration is derived from Arabic and medieval sources.
Five works are written for this string quartet with double bass, and there are two songs which also include a mezzo-soprano. The sixth piece is limited to the cello and double bass. It may be a guideline for this CD, since these two instruments have a concerted role in the baroque sense in all works. This rivalry of the largest and darkest strings will be described as a saber fight rather than as a light-footed fencer. The whole CD has a uniform soundscape, which results from the mixture of old sounds like Renaissance and baroque and oriental moods. Both dynamic highlights and unexpected developments are sparing. The composer finds her very own enveloping and relaxing tone, which is delightful, with a mixture of Hildegard von Bingen, Arvo Pärt and Sufimusik. Or in other words, the salon music is given a touch of Orientalism.
The instrumentalists who have joined together as ‘sound collective’ bring this music to the ear of the listener with passion, refinement and love. Also the solo passages of the “saber fencers” are playfully relaxed and charming. The singer Jess Dandy presents her short contribution with pleasant harmony, without any misdirected pathos. In short, the presentation is a pleasure overall.
Uwe Krusch (April 2017) (translation by Stephen Sutton)