Mansurian: Quasi parlando

Quasi parlando

Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin
Anja Lechner, violoncello
Candida Thompson, artistic director and lead violin

LABEL: ECM New Series 2323
Release: 21 March 2014 (Germany); 24 March 2014 (France); 31 March 2014 (UK/Ireland); 15 April 2014 (USA)


Issued in the wake of the great Armenian composer’s 75th birthday, this New Series album opens with Tigran Mansurian’s fiercely-concentrated Double Concerto, composed in 1978, and proceeds to new music performed by its dedicatees: the lyrical Romance, dedicated to Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and the intensely expressive Quasi parlando, dedicated to German cellist Anja Lechner. Both are premiere recordings, as is Mansurian’s Concerto No 2 (2006), subtitled Four Serious Songs, again with Kopatchinskaja, which concludes the programme. Throughout, the soloists and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, led by Candida Thompson, deliver committed performances.


The Strad, May 2014, David Kettle

“It’s hard to imagine a richer, more persuasive match between performers and music than that revealed on this remarkable, profoundly moving new disc. Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja plays with an intensity that’s sometimes frighteningly raw, as if every note comes from deep within her.  …  Kopatchinskaja seems entirely immersed in the broad dramatic arc of the meditative Double Concerto, delivering a high-voltage account in which Lechner matches her eloquent sculpting of phrases. The Romance for violin and strings drips with sadness and bristles with anger, yet Kopatchinskaja recounts its slowly unfolding story with effortless eloquence and sure technical skill.  …  Mansurian’s Four Serious Songs, which in effect form his second violin concerto, are unremittingly dark in their preoccupation with death, and Kopatchinskaja’s playing is beautifully responsive to the music’s shifting moods, from the fearfully hesitant to the screamingly furious.  …  The disc makes for a tough, emotionally demanding listen, but it’s all the more cathartic for that.”
READ the entire review

Los Angeles Times, 28 May 2014, Mark Swed

“the young Moldavian violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, featured in three of the four works for violin and/or cello for string orchestra on this spellbinding new disc.”
“Kopatchinskaja brings resilient radiance to Mansurian’s 2006 hauntingly plaintive Second Violin Concerto (‘Four Serious Songs’), which takes its cue from late Brahms.
In two recent short works for soloist and strings — ‘Romance’ (written in 2011 for Kopatchinskaja) and a ‘Quasi Parlando’ (written in 2012 for Lechner), both soloists luxuriously capture the composer’s fluctuating twilight luminosity.”
READ the entire review

BBC Music Magazine, July 2014, Calum MacDonald

“Patricia Kopatchinskaja, whose pure, rich tone and unforced eloquence do so much to create the special sound-world of the programme.”
READ the entire review

The Arts Desk, 17 May 2014, Graham Rickson

“There’s a real beauty here. Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s sublime solo line weaves in and out of the narrative, sometimes cooperating and elsewhere at odds with the orchestra. There’s a breathtaking moment near the close of the concerto’s second movement when she bends the tutti strings to her will, the anger subsiding into a rapt, still dialogue. One of Mansurian’s directions for the closing section is molto semplice, and Kopatchinskaja’s playing nails it – the stratospheric cantilena unfolding with flawless security.”
READ the entire review

Gramophone, June 2014, Richard Whitehouse

“The emotional acuity of Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s playing is further demonstrated in Four Serious Songs
“Those intent on exploring the music of this arresting figure could well start here.”
READ the entire review

La Liberté, 5 April 2014

“Aujourd’hui, en dédiant sa Romance ou son Quasi parlando à des talents tels que Patricia Kopatchinskaja et Anja Lechner, le compositeur prouve que sa musique continue de convaincre les interprètes de tout premier plan. La violoniste et la violoncelliste croisent les archets dans quatre oeuvres touchantes et troublantes. La concision évoque les chants arméniens de Komitas, l’inquiétude rappelle les années noires de Chostakovitch. Un langage que le Sinfonietta d’Amsterdam et les solistes s’approprient avec une extraordinaire sensibilité.”

Supersonic Pizzicato, 10 May 2014, Remy Franck

“Tigran Mansurian’s intense music could hardly be better served then by the performers of this outstanding, profoundly moving ECM production. Especially Kopatchinskaja is entirely immersed in the music and she has strong support from the flawless Amsterdam Sinfonietta.”
READ the entire review (in German)

Shirokko Musik, March 2014, Gerhard Rühl

“Doch auch die 1977 im moldawischen Chisinau geborene Patricia Kopatchinskaja vermag in der ‘Romance’ mit sensiblem Spiel zu begeistern. Hier leuchtet ein neuer Stern am Klassikhimmel!
Damit ist Quasi Parlando ein zeitgenössisches Werk, das durch die spürbare Hingebung der Instrumentalisten mit Intimität und Sensibilität glänzt.”
READ the entire review (in German)

All about jazz, 21 July 2014

“The unifying theme of this splendid disc, and one that recurs throughout most of Mansurian’s opus, is a sublime, almost effortless, narrative sense endowed with a timeless mysticism.”
“On the first movement of this, somber yet lyrical, musing on death’s inevitability Kopatchinskaja’s throbbing, visceral sound flavors the stream of consciousness pondering of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta with quiet grief. Her passionate and achingly gorgeous solo on the second is mournful yet enveloped in a gossamer spirituality.”
“Fragments of Armenian popular melodies color the melancholic and emotive “Romance For Violin And String Orchestra” (2011), composed for and dedicated to Kopatchinskaja. The violinist’s unadorned and tender bowing echoes against the ensemble’s fluid refrains. Kopatchinskaja’s anguished, yet restrained dramatic phrases precede the transcendental, placid closure.”


LISTEN to a audio fragment from Mansurian’s ‘Double Concerto’