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Album Review

Violist Kim Kashkashian brings her distinctively warm, earthy tone and impassioned playing to this collection of works for viola and various instrumental combinations by Armenian and Israeli composers. Most of the works have in common a sadness that is expressed in some pieces as melancholy and in others as wrenching grief. Most are related to regional and national folk traditions and have a musical language (and titles and subject matter) that link them to the Middle East. The most impressive work is Neharót Neharót by Israeli composer Betty Olivero, an emotionally rich and musically multilayered lament for viola solo, accordion, percussion, two string ensembles, and tape that's powerfully engaging. Israeli composer Eitan Steinberg's evocative Rava Deravin, based on a Hasidic melody, is also compelling. The piece was written for Kashkashian and uses a string quartet accompaniment. In its expressive final section, the soloist's part alternates between the stratospherically high and the deepest extremes of resister, and the effect is haunting. Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian is represented by two original works and an arrangement of a lullaby by Armenian musician and folklorist Komitas Vardapet. His Tagh for the Funeral of the Lord is a subdued, soulful threnody for viola and percussion. Kashkashian's passionate investment in this material is evident in the focused intensity of her performances. The various accompanying ensembles, including Münchner Kammerorchester led by Alexander Liebreich in the Olivero; the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, led by Gil Rose in Mansurian's Three Arias; and the Kuss Quartet in the Steinberg, provide fervent and sensitive support. ECM's sound is characteristically impeccable: clean, clear, present, and ideally ambient.~Stephen Eddins, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Astonishing work.

The title track on this album is the most moving piece of orchestral music I have heard in years, maybe a decade or more. Every other piece is brilliant and illuminating. Being a working musician, I forget sometimes what can be achieved when a composer or writer nails a concept. This work does just that.


Heard "Neharot Neharot" on a radio program and had to but the album. I LOVE horrible painful sad instrumentals that make you cry (in a good way) and this is one of them- ha ha. It is so moving! And Neharot Neharot is incredible. Kim is gifted. I will be a fan for many years to come. :)


heard a bit of it on NPR. The piece needs to be absorbed as a whole. Simply brilliant.


Born: August 31, 1952 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Born in Detroit of Armenian descent, chamber musician and viola soloist Kim Kashkashian has been featured on over 30 albums, and her repertoire, which ranges from Bach to pieces by contemporary composers, constantly explores the versatility and emotional range of her instrument. She has done interpretations of many classical composers, including Britten, Penderecki, Hindemith, Shostakovich, Schumann, Brahms, and Bartók, among others, while recording for the DGG, Sony, and ECM labels. Kashkashian...
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Neharót, Kim Kashkashian
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music, Modern Era
  • Released: Aug 25, 2009

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