This series of initially four CDs provides us with new windows onto the music of our neighbours to the east. No mere rehashing of balalaika and other clichés, it tunes us into a wide range of temperaments and brings us closer to little-known musical cultures of the eastern world. Old melodies and new songs, all of them interpreted by outstanding musicians from the respective countries. A different mood prevails on each of the four CDs. From Russia we hear a hint of melancholy in music which moves us to the core.
From Melancholy to Euphoria
Musical Insights into the Russian Soul
In Russia the clocks run differently…. – one way, perhaps, of characterising a musical development that has only been systematically followed in the West since the 1990s. That was when Russian free-thinking collided sharply with the Western European pigeonhole mentality where music was concerned. The highly idiosyncratic developments from Russia were hard to categorize; indeed, they almost defied classification altogether: Jazz, rock (all the way to true punk excess), pop, folk, experimental (from electronic music to the strategic use of techno), forms of classical music, theatre, slapstick, light-hearted play-acting – all can be encountered simultaneously. The Russians seem to have no qualms about combining all kinds of different styles in the wildest and most arresting way possible, moulding them into a harmonious (or sometimes intentionally disharmonious) whole.
The “Russian soul,” characterised by melancholy and an eagerness to explore, extends far and wide: geographically, all the way to the border with Mongolia, in fact, where throat singing and its different overtone techniques are based. This enormous country with its numerous musical cultures not only has links with the meditative (and shamanistic) mysticism of Asia, however: The excellent folk music of the Black Sea coast is also highly stimulating. No surprise at all, therefore, that a musician like Sergey Starostin (whether he is performing with the Moscow Art Trio or with the Farlanders) makes use of flutes and woodwinds from all over the country to express the most varied moods: mysterious tones straight from the natural world, melancholy laments, deep spirituality, expressive intensity and euphoric joyfulness. This CD cannot claim to include every aspect of Russian music, yet the small selection it offers provides highly expressive insights into the many aspects of the Russian soul: radical high spirits, some highly harmonious “cat music,” and the call of a cuckoo are just a few of the surprises it has in store. Because there’s nothing the Russian soul loves more than to surprise and astonish. In Russia, the clocks really do run differently!
1. Cat´s love song – Vladiswar Nadishana 3.49/ Vladiswar Nadishana
2. Prayer Part 2 – Moscow Art Trio 6.01/ Mikhail Alperin
3. Lullaby – Farlanders 4.27/ trad./ I. Zhelannaya, S. Kalachev
4. Oh Ne Budite – Moscow Art Trio 3.21/ Mikhail Alperin
5. Keghe / Cockoo – Stepanida 1.45/ trad.
6. Fog – Farlanders 4.28/ I. Zhelannaya, S. Kalachev
7. Barastylahyy / Song of Parting – Hulu Project feat. Stepanida 5.02/ trad./ Hubl. G. / Luigi Archetti
8. Wild Village Dance – Moscow Art Trio 3.02/ Mikhail Alperin
9. Pri doline – Moscow Art Trio 7.10/ Mikhail Alperin
10. Skomorochi – Moscow Art Trio 9.00/ Mikhail Alperin
11. Sergey´s Ballad – Sergey Starostin Vocal Family 4.01/ trad./ arr Mikhail Alperin
12. Nostalgia – Mikhail Alperin 2.39/ Mikhail Alperin
Track 1 licensed from Vladiswar Nadishana, Russia,www.nadishana.nm.ru
Track 5,7 licensed from CCnC records from the CD Hulu Project feat. Stepanida www.erdenklang.de