Sunday, February 28, 2016


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This is a wonderful CD by the Russian pianist Anna Gourari. I saw it two weeks ago, hesitated, decided (reluctantly) no & then on Friday afternoon saw it again & thought well, why not? "Something for the weekend" (does anyone else still use - let alone understand - that phrase?). 

I first listened to the Busoni transcription of the Bach 'Ich ruf' zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ' & fell immediately under the spell. Who wouldn't? This is the piano version of the organ rendering that plays in Tarkovsky's Mirror (as I recall during that strange sequence of archive footage of balloons rising into the air).

This morning - the February sun shining & already a sense of Spring despite the chill - I listen to the Bach Chaconne which is absolutely extraordinary. The Prelude, which rounds off the disc, is also sublime. (A Sofia Gubaidulina Chaconne & Hindemith suite still await.) 

I know ECM gets a bad press from some quarters for its too 'intellectual' designer minimalist in-house style. However, for me, it is providing some of the most beautiful music I could wish to hear. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that this music gives shape & purpose to my days. (Still to come the recent Rothko Chapel which collects Feldman, Cage & Satie plus a Kurtag/Ligeti pairing for viola with Kim Kashkashian). 

Manfred Eicher has a good pair of ears. 

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It seems my crystal ball was not so grubby ... ... resisting the temptation to say "told you so".