No matter how brilliantly played, how beautifully recorded, how enthusiastically performed, a disc of joke encores is still a disc of joke encores. No one could complain that the KREMERata BALTICA is a less than superb chamber orchestra or that Gidon Kremer is less than a spectacular violinist or that Nonesuch has not given Kremer and the KREMERata stunning sound. No one could complain that the pieces are not fun and funny and sometimes a little touching.
Gidon Kremer's emotionally-engaged performing style is transferred to an orchestral scale as he leads and directs his award-winning Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra - playing with unrivalled energy and refinement - in a pair of central works of 20th century symphonic repertoire: Mahler's swansong, the Adagio from the unfinished Symphony No.10 in a new arrangement for strings, and Shostakovich's dramatic, moving Symphony No.14
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.
Featuring the first recording of two works by George Enescu – the String Octet, Op. 7, and the Piano Quintet, Op. 29 – this album introduces the listener to the fascinating, multifaceted, and intriguing world of the Romanian master's chamber music. Enescu's music is expertly performed by members of the extraordinary KREMERata BALTICA under the direction of Gidon Kremer, who plays first violin in both pieces. Kremer wisely chose the music, for the two …..Zoran Minderovic @ AllMusic.com
This is a handsome-looking compact disc release, with strikingly muted graphics in cool purple tones, featuring Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and Japanese harpist Naoko Yoshina. Here the pretty graphics go a little too far: the buyer finds no listing of compositions on the outside of the package and has no way of knowing what is played aside from a bare mention of the names of the 11 composers featured. That's where the All Classical Guide comes in. The works were all written in the twentieth century. They are: Michio Miyagi's Haru no umi (Ocean in Spring, a calming, melodic piece); Kaija Saariaho's Nocturne for violin solo (a somewhat avant-garde coloristic piece); Toru Takemitsu's Stanza II for harp and tape (also pretty far out and very Japanese-sounding); Yuji Takahashi's Insomnia for violin, voices, and kugo (strange, but oddly soothing); a movement from Satie's Le fils des étoiles as arranged by Takahashi (austere); Jean Françaix's Five Little Duets (100 percent charming); the Étude for violin from Richard Strauss's Daphne (also charming); Six Melodies by John Cage (simple and pleasant); Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel (even simpler and not startling); Nino Rota's love theme from The Godfather (you know this one); and the final movement from Schnittke's Suite in the Old Style (gently Classical except for one deliberately horrendous dissonance).
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.
The New Seasons referred to in the title here are the so-called American Four Seasons, the Violin Concerto No. 2 of Philip Glass, which has even less of a connection to Vivaldi's model than do Astor Piazzolla's Buenos Aires Four Seasons and other works that take Vivaldi as a point of reference. The work is in eight sections, but which ones are supposed to represent which season is left up to the listener. It's really a typical but unusually effective example of late-period Glass, with the composer's usual textures intact but lots of harmonic motion. Part of the interest here lies in hearing Latvian violinist and conductor Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica, long champions of minimalism's Baltic branch, tackle a work by one of the leaders of Western minimalism. The American Four Seasons get a treatment that's a bit rougher than usual, but then Kremer turns around (after a Pärt girls' choir interlude) and delivers pristinely smooth, glassy textures in Giya Kancheli's Ex contrario. The program closes with a fascinating little melody by Japanese rock musician and film composer Shigeru Umebayashi, a daring and effective choice.
Written in 1900, Enescu’s Octet for Strings combines the chromatic richness prevalent in Vienna at the time with a refined sense of formal structure. After World War I, he was increasingly influenced by the folk music of his native Romania, the effect of which is subtly echoed in the Quintet for Piano and Strings of 1940, heard here in its first recording. In the hands of Kremer and his ensemble, both works are revealed to be masterful and distinctive pieces that deserve to be more widely known.