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Giya Kancheli

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Styx (1999)
Work Notes
available in the USA, Canada and Mexico only
Hans Sikorski Russian Works
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
36 Minutes
SATB chorus
Solo Instrument(s)
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  • Ensemble
    Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Latvian State Choir, Kamer..
    Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Rihards Zalupe (Percussion)
    Maris Sirmais
Still, that was quite an earful: Giya Kancheli's gripping 35-minute Styx (1999), for viola, chorus and orchestra, in a reprise of the orchestra's United States premiere of the work in April. Mr. Kancheli, born in Tbilisi, Georgia, weaves a tribute to dead colleagues from the former Soviet Union into a multifarious text that begins in Georgian and ends in English. Whatever the language, the text often seems to grasp at words, names or syllables as much for their sheer musical potential as for any literal meaning. Finally, it fixates on a meditation on time: merciless time, merciful time; time of joy, time of terror. An alternation of the English words "terror" and "joy" gives way to scraping and rasping sounds evoking an extended death rattle, and ends with a victorious shout of "Joy!" The viola, Mr. Kahane said in an introduction, represents Charon, mediating between the lands of the living and the dead. Accordingly, the part is given mainly to lyricism and, more oddly, dance rather than technical display, and Basil Vendryes, the orchestra's principal violist, made lovely and subtle work of it here.
James R. Oestreich, The New York Times,17/06/2008
Kancheli's Styx is subdued, spinning out long, lyric melodies, [with] sparse texts. Styx is a major addition to the repertoire...this is required listening.
Robert Kirzinger, Fanfare,01/01/0001
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