VAKHTANG KAKHIDZE (b.1959): Piano Concerto, Suite from the Ballet Amazons, Conjugations.
Catalogue Number: 12T012
Label: CuGate Classics
Description: Like the disc we offered in February (02S089) this one showcases the composer's bold neo-romantic, crowd-pleasing style writ large. The thoroughly extrovert concerto is in three movements played without a break. It begins with a portentous introduction that seems to suggest the Dies irae, but instantly the piano reveals the work's real thematic material; that most basic of building blocks, the C Major scale, and the movement turns into a rollicking high-energy romp increasingly infiltrated by jazz. The slow movement sounds like a really well written sentimental ballad - Kakhidze has extensive experience in writing jazz, popular song and film music, so this is a natural part of his vocabulary - and the finale is jazz, tout court; helter-skelter speeded-up Gershwin. Amazons is a full-length ballet, from which the composer extracted this twelve-movement suite. This is a big, colorful Romantic score. Kakhidze's idiom is less sumptuous and exotic than Khachaturian's, but the combination of thrills and sensuality in these dances is not far removed from the world of Spartacus and Gayaneh. Conjugations is an early piece and is more chromatic and rhythmically complex than Kakhidze's later style, with no hint of jazz. It is a large, serious tone poem that emerges from ominous, harmonically murky beginnings into an autumnal lament with a Mahlerian feel, interrupted by a massive, tragic cortège over a slow-treading ostinato figure that vanishes as quickly as it appears. Vakhtang Kakhdize (piano), Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra; Djansug & Vakhtang Kakhidze.