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About ECM
September 14 , 2004


Cellist Anja Lechner and pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos are playing the music from their new album “Chants, Hymns and Dances” at a special concert in Munich on Thursday, September 23rd.

The concert takes place at the Allerheiligenhofkirche der Residenz and begins at 8 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now via München Ticket - www.muenchen-ticket.de - and will also be available at the venue.

One of the most striking and unusual recordings in this season’s New Series programme,
“Chants, Hymns and Dances” features music of G.I. Gurdjieff (c. 1877-1948) in new arrangements for cello and piano by Lechner and Tsabropoulos, as well as compositions by Tsabropoulos (b. 1966) based, in part, upon Byzantine hymns. The focus of the album is music derived, directly or indirectly, from the oral music tradition.

Gurdjieff’s musical works were amongst the first pieces in the West to take account of the diversity of music resonating in the wider world. Neither wholly “western” nor wholly “eastern” in themselves, they suggest a window thrown open to the orient. German cellist Anja Lechner sensed the music’s potential for her new duo with Greek pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos. Its context seemed immediately familiar to them. Lechner had been working closely with Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian who had made use, particularly in his adaptations of Komitas, of some of the same roots. Other Gurdjieff pieces had clear affinities with the music of the Greek Orthodox Church, also the wellspring for a group of compositions by Vassilis Tsabropoulos.

Lechner’s affinity for transcultural projects has been proven in the Rosamunde Quartet’s popular “Kultrum” collaboration with Dino Saluzzi and in her work with Misha Alperin. Tsabropouilos, meanwhile is a musician equally at home in classical or jazz contexts.

Despite their very different backgrounds, Anja Lechner and Vassilis Tsabropoulos have in common the fact that they are classical musicians with an uncommon facility for improvisation. The Gurdjieff material has never previously been treated as freely. Tsabroupolos: “The only way to reach the heart of the material is by feeling free. But you have to respect the context, asking, ‘How can we develop the melodic lines while at the same time protecting them?’”
This is what Anja Lechner and Vassilis Tsabropoulos do so well on “Chants, Hymns and Dances”, an album of interest to followers of chamber music, “world music” or improvisation between the genres. For this is music which, quite literally, crosses borders.

Buy tickets here