Canti d’inizio e fine – for a solo performer who can feel, play, sing, scream, moan, swear, breathe, squeal, whisper, bleat, hiss, dream…
Rend your clothes, you all, sprinkle your head with ashes,
run through the streets and dance in madness.
– Rabbi Jakub Szulman in a letter, January 1942
For over ten years, Shalygin has been occupied with a project for a lifetime: music for solo instruments, since the most concealed, intimate and deep things can only be expressed by a single instrument. One musician on the stage, who plays not just for the audience, but more for himself, akin to a person praying. In each of his solo works, Shalygin reaches an exalted state, giving the instrument a special voice.
For this kind of musical work, the composer always looks forward to meeting a true artist. Someone who with unique technical skills, possession of a wide scale of emotional palette, stoic work ethics, and most of all, someone ready to be challenged. The talent of Maya Fridman includes all of that and even more. She has a huge potential to implement these new concepts. She belongs to a class of performers who were born to pave the way for new music.
The piece consists of six songs and an epilogue, “Todesfuge” on the poem by Paul Celan. Each part represents an imaginary folder in the Holocaust victims, and is assigned to one out of six Angels of Death: Gabriel, Samael, Kapziel, Azrael, Abaddon, and Michael. The last poem combines mysteriously compelling imagery with rhythmic variations and structural patterns that are both elusive and pronounced. At the same time it has been regarded as a masterful description of horror and death in a concentration camp.