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).
The name of Martha Argerich on any label always means fire, and so it is here. She and Gidon Kremer play with quite exceptional urgency and temperament, and the bright, clear recording brings up both instruments with a sheen. In fact the music springs at you with such immediacy that anyone previously of the opinion that Schumann was showing signs of tiredness in these latish works will be compelled to think again.
Five-CD limited-edition box set, issued in time for the 30th anniversary of the Austrian chamber-music festival. “Edition Lockenhaus” returns long out-of-print titles to the catalogue, with some of the finest musicians of the New Series, including Gidon Kremer, Kim Kashkashian, Heinz Holliger, Thomas Zehetmair, Thomas Demenga, Robert Levin, Eduard Brunner and many more. Gidon Kremer: “The artistic atmosphere in Lockenhaus soon has everybody speaking on the same wavelength.” The set opens with previously unreleased recordings – from 2001 and 2008 – with Sir Simon Rattle and Roman Kofman conducting Kremerata Baltica in revelatory performances of Richard Strauss’s “Metamorphosen” and Olivier Messiaen’s “Trois petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine”: the committed interpretations convey the spirit of Lockenhaus. Discs two through five focus on music of César Franck, André Caplet, Francis Poulenc, Leos Janácek, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich and Erwin Schulhoff. Original liner notes, an interview with Kremer, and new texts complete a very special edition.
Filmed in Vienna's Grosser Musikvereinssaal in the early 1980s, this fabled rendering of Mozart's complete violin concertos appears on DVD for the first time. Premier violinist Gidon Kremer unites with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Wiener Philharmoniker in a tribute to the musical genius Harnoncourt deems "the most Romantic composer of all".
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.
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.