Concert In Athens
One of my speakers self-destructed recently, causing much gnashing of teeth. But since the replacement pair have been installed I swear no more beautiful sound has passed their membranes than that of Kim Kashkashian’s viola on this album. It has a velvety luxuriance such as the wealthy swathed themselves in to ward off Renaissance winters. To resoundingly mix my metaphors it is also voluptuously sweet, yet with the cleanly acidic finish of a great Sauternes. Above all it grieves with a power that will constrict your throat. If anyone makes a better noise on a viola I should love to hear them, and I doubt the instrument has ever been better recorded than at this live concert in Athens.
Kashkashian plays on five pieces from this program of theatre and film music penned by the wonderful Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou. Karaindrou herself is at the piano, with the Camerata Orchestra conducted by Alexandros Myrat. The other featured soloists are Vangelis Christopoulos (oboe) and Jan Garbarek, whose tenor saxophone sometimes offers laments and sometimes storms across Karaindrou’s pieces, which include music she has written for theatre productions of Death of A Salesman, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf and The Glass Menagerie.
Readers who have encountered the documentary masterpiece Sounds and Silence about ECM’s producer Manfred Eicher have seen footage of the making of this exquisite disc.