Back From Oblivion – songs from the Georgian Liturgy
14 June 2015
Back From Oblivion
A CONCERT OF GEORGIAN POLYPHONIC CHANTS by Aleksandra Kotecka, Ewa Pasikowska and Tomasz Wierzbowski
The songs presented at the concert are a small fragment of the vast tradition of liturgical Georgian chant, several times saved from oblivion in the last centuries. Depending largely on oral transmission, it had suffered severe losses due to the imperialistic actions of czarist Russia and later of the Soviet Union. As oral transmission constituted the only universally practiced method of teaching in liturgical chant schools, these disruptions and lack of continuity effectively meant a halt to the practice and dissemination of these songs. A number of medieval chants noted down by monks have survived, as well as some manuscripts from different centuries, and twentieth-century notes and early recordings, which have contributed to the preservation of thousands of songs.
A vast part of this tradition would have remained only in the domain of ethnography, and thus outside of practice, had it not been for the efforts made by Malkhaz Erkvanidze and his choir – based first in the Anchiskhati Basilica, and currently in the Mama Daviti Church in Tbilisi. Actions undertaken by Mr. Erkvanidze include interpretation of the remaining historical sources, their edition and publishing in book form, as well as endeavours to re-include the saved material in the musical canon of the Georgian Liturgy.
This repertory, reflecting a vast and rich tradition of the Georgian church chant – one of the oldest traditions of church music in the world – will be of interest not only of the members of the congregation of the Georgian Orthodox Church, as it touches all those who appreciate music created from the impulse of the spirit.
Ewa Pasikowska, Aleksandra Kotecka and Tomasz Wierzbowski are related to Teatr ZAR, whose first project Gospels of Childhood had started their long-lasting fascination with Georgian music. Subsequent endeavours have further shaped their technique and sensitivity. After more than ten years, they have once again taken up work on Georgian polyphony. The contact and cooperation with Malkhaz Erkvanidze have served as a key for them to better understand these traditions, initiating a long-term, in-depth project on Georgian music.
Concert realized with the support of the Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw, Poland.