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Night Prayers based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
The Kronos Quartet will doubtlessly maintain a unique place in music history as the most innovative, risk-taking, humanistic fine group of musicians ever known. Not only is their ability to perform standard works excellent, but they have always stretched that virtuosity to explore rarely heard and even commissioned works by composers including some not known to the Western world at least. NIGHT PRAYERS is as fine an example of their artistic strategy as any of the many recordings they have made. Though the works on this recording are truly meant to be performance art (the lighting and placement of the quartet and soloists on stage is a prime importance), this brilliant CD at least captures for posterity the beauty of the works they have performed.The driving force of these varied works is to present music that is spiritual in a way many of us have never experienced. The works are primarily from the depths of Russia and Siberia and Eastern European countries influenced by the nomadic oriental sounds of a world practically unknown to us. Opening the recital is 'Kongerei', a traditional work from Tuva in Mongolia and is fascinatingly intoned by throat singers capable of producing multiple pitches (allowing themselves to harmonize with themselves!) simultaneously with the cello providing the ground bass. This strangely haunting work is followed by Uzbekistani Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky's setting of the 'Lacyrmosa'. The soloist, aptly, is Dawn Upshaw whose quiet clearly focused voice is surrounded in beauty by the minimalist quartet writing. 'Mugam Sayagi' by Azerbaijani Franghiz Ali-Zadeh is based on 16th century secret language of Islam and is primarily a solo cello work with minor filigree work from the violin. The stunning Quartet No. 4 by the brilliant Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina and combines pre-recorded music (bouncing rubber balls) and live music it a manner that never approaches parody. It is simply stunning writing.'A Cool Wind Is Blowing' by Tigran Tahmizyan is Armenian in style and in derivation and utilizes the Armenian wooden oboe (duduk) as played by Djivan Gasparian to reveal the poetry. The 'K'vakarat' by Osvaldo Golijov who, though born in Argentina, is from Russian Jewish parents and thus his composition for Cantor (Mikail Alexandrovich) and quartet fits well into this collection of music form the Steppes. The final work is the most mystical and beautiful for this listener. 'Night Prayer' by Georgian Giya Kancheli is not only a wondrous work for string quartet, it also adds voices at the end, voices of children singing 'Lord, hear my voice, Lord'. The use of silences is breathtaking.This is simply one of those unusual recordings that deserves a wide audience. It is food for the mind, the soul, and the spirit. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp