Khatia Buniatishvili’s new recording for Sony Classical is a concept album as imaginative, sensitive and philosophical as the pianist herself.
“Labyrinth” explores the unfathomable quest that is human life. It plots a filmic course through hesitance, wistfulness, sensuality, pleasure and pain – all seen through the eyes of a woman enlightened by self-reflection and wisdom.
Recorded at La Grande Salle Pierre Boulez at the Philharmonie de Paris, the album occupies its own half-real domain, drawing on the evocative language of composers from Scarlatti to Morricone and from Bach to Glass.
The labyrinth, says the French-Georgian pianist, is ‘our fate and creation; our impasse and deliverance; the polyphony of life, senses, reawakened dreams and the neglected present; unexpected and expected turnings of the said or unsaid ... The labyrinth of our mind.’
After strong statements in the music of Liszt, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Mussorgsky and the folk music of her native Georgia in her album ‘Motherland’, Buniatishvili has assembled her most varied musical menu yet in “Labyrinth”. She puts her formidable pianism in the service of her extraordinary imagination with typical fearlessness, depicting one woman’s dance with life in all its horrors and joys.
Included are film scores by Philip Glass (The Hours) and the late Ennio Morricone (Once Upon a Time in America), canvases for piano by Erik Satie and Serge Gainsbourg, a Latin American dance by Heitor Villa-Lobos, an Estonian prayer by Arvo Pärt, a Hungarian study by György Ligeti, John Cage’s infamous stretch of musical silence and concert works by Scarlatti, Brahms, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Couperin and Liszt.
For the album, Buniatishvili also did arrangements herself including Bach’s Badinerie for four hands and the composer’s Sicilienne (BWV 596) based on Vivaldi’s Concerto in D minor RV 565.
"Deborah’s Theme" from Morricone’s Once Upon a Time in America was released as a single in July, as a tribute to the composer who died earlier that month at the age of 91, after an unrivaled career in film music.
Khatia Buniatishvili is one of classical music’s true one-offs, a pianist with an almost unequaled delicacy of touch and a film director’s ear for focus-pulling and storytelling. She is a preferred collaborator of top-drawer musicians including Zubin Mehta, Paavo Järvi, and Gidon Kremer, and has recorded with all three.