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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Putting aside the conceit behind this album's title and the bizarre impression it might leave of its soloist and director, Gidon Kremer's 2004 album with the KREMERata BALTICA is a collection of short concertos and concert pieces, largely from the Baltic countries facetiously charted on the cover as "Kremerland." That Kremer has a fondness for the varied flavors and moods of music from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union should be evident from several previous discs with his hand-picked ensemble. Here, Kremer's selections are all over the musical map. Ranging from the turbulent Romanticism of Franz Liszt to the breezy jazz pastiches of Leonid Chizhik, and including a modernist tango by Alexander Vustin, a faltering rag by Giya Kancheli, and even circus music by Isaak Dunayevsky, this album is programmed according to Kremer's unabashedly eclectic tastes and his alone. Whether or not this collection makes sense depends on the listener's attitude toward Kremer's kitschy, pop concert proclivities. But the skill and musicality of his players cannot be questioned, and the fine production values reflect Deutsche Grammophon's usual high standards. So if it is taken in a spirit of fun, "Kremerland" may amuse for one or two hearings, but probably no more than that. © TiVo