We are happy to be able to share with you this amazing news from CES Records
CES Records is fortunate enough to present to you Natela Svanidze and to be releasing for the very first time her unique recording from 1974 on Synthi-100.
The following issue aims to showcase Natela Svanidze’s electronic music from the Georgian Lamentations oratorio, part 5. “Epitaphium”.
This unique recording from 1974 has been treated with care and supported by 3 young and extremely talented Georgian music producers: HVL; Tamo Nasidze and Mess_Montage.
Release Date: 04.09.2020
“I have come early…”
Natela Svanidze (1926 – 2017) is an Honored Art Worker and one of the most distinguished Georgian composers, whose creations have not been explored and praised sufficiently to this day. The key period of the artist’s comprehensive work coincided with Soviet times, resulting in a variety of impediments—both in the creative and personal realms of her life.
We may divide N. Svanidze’s creations into two radically different stages. Up until 1962, the composer followed Neoromantic traditions established in Georgian music at the time; whereas from 1963 (the year she traveled to Poland and attended the famous Warsaw Fall contemporary music festival) onwards, her pieces are characterized with peculiar composition methods and techniques, including dodecaphony, aleatory, sonorism, minimalism and polystylism, synthesized with linear style characteristic to Georgian folk polyphony. Folklore holds a special place in the composer’s work and life at large. For years, she would take part in a variety of expeditions (to Siberia and Northern Caucasus), researching a Caucasian style of musical thought and Georgian-Basque musical connections.
“I write little because I do not repeat forms. I have never composed a piece for pay—my work has never turned into an occupation of sorts. I create something only after it ripens for creation. Each piece is a progression to a new level,” claimed the composer. The following works are N. Svanidze’s key pieces: four symphonic poems (Symphonic Dances, 1949; Samgori, 1951; Kvarkvare, 1963; Burlesque, 1965) and two symphonies; the Heart Dripping Blood monodrama, dedicated to her only daughter, Maia Tomadze, who passed away at an early age in 1999; the Phirosmani (1969) and Georgian Lamentations (1974) oratorios, etc.
The Georgian Lamentations oratorio, composed for a mixed choir comprised of female sextet, baritone—Sprechstimme, soprano, flute, violin, bells, 12 cellos, organ, and electronic music, is a magnificent piece that synthesizes traditional ethnic music principles with contemporary musical language and technique of its time. The oratorio consists of six parts: Prologue, Khorumi (Georgian traditional dance), Bell, Lament, Epitaphium, and Epilogue. The first part combines chanting with serialism technique, while the third part is a synthesis of Svanetian bells and serialism technique. The fifth part of the oratorio was particularly groundbreaking for the time being, as it is based on electronic music, developed into four dynamic waves, with rhythmic whispering of the choirs. Several aspects make this part exceptional: this is the first electronic music piece in Georgian music, composed by a female composer, and simultaneously recorded on Synthi-100, a popular synthesizer (invented by P. Zinoviev and imported to Moscow from England in the early 1970s) at the time. This very synthesizer was used by E. Artemiev, V. Martinov, and I. Bogdanov, as well as famous movie soundtracks, including Stalker by A. Tarkovsky, Sibierade by A. Konchalovsky, A Few Days from the Life of I.I. Oblomov by N. Mikhalkov and many more. At the time, Natela Svanidze was living in Moscow and had access to Synthi-100.
“I really trust the tempo of development. One must never stop. I always fear lagging behind and coming to a halt,” Natela Svanidze would say.
Indeed, she is one of the rare Georgian composers that boldly experimented with contemporary musical and expressive tools and methods. That is precisely why she became interested in electronic music, which had virtually no room for development in Georgia at the time.
Natela Svanidze is an artist with a somewhat tragic story, who never got the chance to fully realize her creative ideas into fruition due to objective impediments of her time. “I regret to say that I have come early… I was born for electronic music, but with virtually no technical capabilities to create such music in my time…”, said she once with regret.
“I have never violated my principles, agreed to compromise, or give up on my inherent aspiration to manifest my intrinsic truth through art for the sake of success, fame, or money. I have never sold a counterfeit to my audience. What I have created is something that simply had to be.”
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