Ensemble “Rustavi” Administration Press Release, September 23rd, 2020
Connecting with the 50th anniversary of the Ensemble “Rustavi”, there has been published a very important anthology – “400 Georgian Folk Songs”.
* * *
I first met the Ensemble Rustavi when I was working on my third symphony and I invited Hamlet Gonashvili to sing the vocal part. Hamlet accepted this unexpected proposal, and his divine voice and unique timbre became the crown of the musical piece.
In 2000, The Lucerne International Festival selected me as a visiting composer. The festival’s organizers helped me realize two of my wishes: first, to invite Djansug Kakhidze to conduct the musical work I had composed expressly for the event; and second, to arrange a solo concert for The Rustavi Ensemble. Like The Salzburg Festival, The Lucerne Festival hosts distinguished audiences from all corners of the globe, and I wanted such an audience to hear our folk treasure. I hope that the Rustavi singers and the audience still remember that unique evening.
My third meeting with Rustavi was in 2003 in Great Britain. This was a grand project at the Imber Artillery Range, where Rustavi was the hero. Marching across the range with dance and folk song, the ensemble performed a beautiful hour-long show, leading guests from all over the country into the 13th century St. Giles church, where they performed in the premiere of the musical work that I had composed specifically for this project. I hope that it will someday be possible to broadcast the film that the BBC made of this event, so that the Georgian public will have an opportunity to see this beautiful spectacle.
Without Rustavi, I would never have met anyone as distinguished as Anzor Erkomaishvili. Being Anzor’s friend is a great honor, and I feel that his work in searching for folk songs, his publication of unique collections, and his establishment of the Martve Boys’ Choir, to name some of his achievements, are of tremendous historic importance.
I would also like to recognize another distinguished person: Mikheil Kilosanidze – a wonderful musician and sound engineer. His name is closely linked to Georgia’s high quality audio archive of Western European and Georgian folk and professional music. It is difficult to imagine who could have better documented Djansug Kakhidze’s heritage. Kilosanidze’s contribution to the immortalization of Rustavi’s art is invaluable.