A beautifully-recorded album from master violinist Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata, Baltica, spanning a wide range of music, all of it broached with conviction. Hungarian composer and pianist Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer from the Serbian province of Vojvodina has written eight hymns in commemoration of the film director Andrei Tarkovsky, an artist he has called a homo moralis whose remarkable visions cast a small but significant light on the tragic world of the previous century. Georgian composer Giya Kancheli contributes a silent prayer for two of his most important musical associates: the cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and the violinist Gidon Kremer.
Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer's 2000 release Eight Seasons is a conceptual masterwork. Kremer, long known for his skillful interpretations of Astor Piazzolla's Argentinean tangos, had the brilliant idea of matching four of the Latin master's tone poems of the seasons in his native Buenos Aires with Antonio Vivaldi's conceptually similar masterpiece "The Four Seasons," alternating seasons between the two works. Besides the conceptual perfection of the idea, the performances are exquisite. Kremer and his conservatory orchestra, the Kremerata Baltica, do a particularly masterful job with the Vivaldi, avoiding the ornate bloat that affects so many recordings of this work. Their performances are brisk and to-the-point, with bright tempos that add a vitality not often found in this rather shopworn old standard. As always, Kremer's solos in the Piazzolla works are absolutely superb, with the dramatic flourishes of the massed string section providing startling counterpoint, especially on the breathtaking "Verano Porteno". Eight Seasons is a truly remarkable work by an underrated performer.
Here are three 20th-century violin concertos written within a 30-year period in three totally different styles, played by a soloist equally at home in all of them. Bernstein's Serenade, the earliest and most accessible work, takes its inspiration from Plato's Symposium; its five movements, musical portraits of the banquet's guests, represent different aspects of love as well as running the gamut of Bernstein's contrasting compositional styles. Rorem's concerto sounds wonderful. Its six movements have titles corresponding to their forms or moods; their character ranges from fast, brilliant, explosive to slow, passionate, melodious. Philip Glass's concerto, despite its conventional three movements and tonal, consonant harmonies, is the most elusive. Written in the "minimalist" style, which for most ordinary listeners is an acquired taste, it is based on repetition of small running figures both for orchestra and soloist, occasionally interrupted by long, high, singing lines in the violin against or above the orchestra's pulsation.
Nonesuch Records releases The Art of Instrumentation: Homage to Glenn Gould, by violinist Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra, on September 25, 2012, which would have been Gould’s 80th birthday. The album comprises 11 pieces and arrangements by contemporary composers that quote from or are inspired by works, mostly by Bach, that Gould famously recorded during his career; two Arnold Schoenberg pieces also are drawn upon in one piece.
Recorded in 2001 (Mahler) and 2004 (Shostakovich), this 2007 ECM release provides a wonderful insight into Gidon Kremer's perspective on two composers who are clearly close to his heart. The performances are both fascinating, and the Kremerata Baltica give their not-inconsiderable all in both works.
Leonard Bernstein and the Wiener Philharmoniker perform Brahms orchestral works. Between 1981 and 1984 Leonard Bernstein recorded nearly all of Brahms's orchestral works with the Wiener Philharmoniker to honor the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth in 1983. For the concertos, Bernstein enlisted the services of some of the finest Brahms interpreters of the time: the violoninst Gidon Kremer, the cellist Mischa Maisky and the pianist Krystian Zimerman.