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Classical - Released February 7, 2014 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released February 24, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
This group of Rachmaninov piano trios was released in celebration of the 70th birthday of Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer. One might have expected something that placed Kremer more in the spotlight than chamber music, and perhaps something devoted to the enormous influence he has had in reviving neglected Baltic and Eastern European repertory. On greater reflection, though, the decision is typical: Kremer has always been one who guides rather than one who takes the spotlight himself, and he has recorded a great deal of Russian music, often in fresh ways. So it is here with Rachmaninov. His two "trios élégiaques" are both youthful works; the Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor, Op. 9, was composed when he was 21, and the person being given the elegy was the late Tchaikovsky, whose own piano trio also had a set of variations for its central movement. The trios give priority not to the violin, but to the piano, and for chamber music partners Kremer chooses a mix of his own generation -- cellist Giedré Dirvanauskaité -- and the new one, Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov. It's an effective constellation overall, with Trifonov getting the virtuoso parts and the two older players putting in commentary. This isn't top-drawer Rachmaninov (the Trio No. 2 is a bit sprawling), but the group captures its mood of bravado and interiority. Another bonus is the rarely heard Preghiera, the slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, arranged for piano trio by none other than Fritz Kreisler. Sample this, for it introduces the fresh balances that are the distinctive feature of this recording. Deutsche Grammophon's sound, from the wooden and gentle Trifolion hall in Echternach, Luxembourg, is idiomatic to the music and exceptionally pleasant. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
 
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Classical - Released May 29, 2015 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Exceptional Sound Recording
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. This may not be to the taste of all Glass lovers, but it's an unusual minimalist selection, performed to the Kremerata Baltica's usual sterling standards. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 1, 1984 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Violin Solos - Released March 1, 2019 | Accentus Music

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte
The Polish Jewish-born Mieczyslaw Weinberg made his way to Moscow during World War II and was lucky enough to have his music championed by Shostakovich during one of the latter's government-approved periods. His music sounds a bit like that of Shostakovich (sample, perhaps, the beginning of the 21st prelude here), but he generally has his own voice. Weinberg wrote these preludes for cello (for Mstislav Rostropovich, who never performed them), and they have occasionally been recorded in that form; the violin transcription here by Latvian star Gidon Kremer squeezes the original work's broad range but also adds a level of virtuosity on the high notes that wasn't there originally. The 24 preludes do not form a set in all the major and minor keys as do those of Bach or Chopin, and they're perhaps more etudes than preludes, each of them exploring a little technique or motif. Combined with Kremer's brilliance, this creates a slightly mysterious effect, as if you are hearing an impassioned speech in an unfamiliar language. They are entirely unlike the Shostakovich preludes for piano, and there is nothing of the neo-classic about them although they are tonally organized. Although the pieces are quite short, they have a personal quality. The Accentus label, going full ECM with its black-and-white-photo-on-gray graphics, does a wonderful job sonically at the Paliesiaus Dvaras, apparently a small hotel, in Lithuania; the violin has an almost tactile quality. A nice find for those who know Weinberg only through his symphonies, or not at all. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released January 1, 1986 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released September 10, 2010 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The Baltic countries, just a couple of decades old in their current incarnations, have emerged as hotbeds of contemporary music, resting on a triad of experimentalism, community music-making, and a few big stars committed to the growth of a distinctive homegrown scene. Among the latter group, violinist Gidon Kremer has made consistently successful recordings, artistically and commercially, with his handpicked group of young Latvian musicians, Kremerata Baltica. Many of these have displayed Kremer's knack for combining contemporary music, tango, and established repertory in compelling thematic combinations. The booklet for De Profundis (in English only) contain only an explanation of the concept: the opening words of Psalm 130, "De profundis clamavi a te, Domine," "Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord," have a unique relevance in today's world of repression and exploitation; otherwise the music is left to speak for itself. Arvo Pärt's choral setting of this psalm is not included, and the only direct reference to the text comes in the romantic but eclectic De profundis by the young Lithuanian composer Raminta Serksnyté. The rest of the music is not directly supplicatory in tone, and for the most part has no direct religious references. But the entire program holds together beautifully, with a somber, questing mood expressed in a variety of musical languages. Romantic-minimalist music like Michael Nyman's Trysting Fields is set against formal structures like one of Schumann's Six Fugues on the name B.A.C.H., Op. 60, with the two poles meeting in Pärt's Passacaglia (track 2). There are edgy dark reflections on Russian culture: an adagio from Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, an unidentified and alarming fragment by Alfred Schnittke). Other works of a religious tone include the young Russian composer Lera Auerbach's Sogno di Stabat Mater and Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer transcription of Bach's Lasset uns den nicht zerteilen, from the St. John Passion, BWV 245. There are graceful resting places from Piazzolla (Melodía en la menor) and Schubert. The cumulative effect, difficult to put into words, is moving, reverential yet lively, and moreover situated at the center of the Baltics' emerging critique of Putin's Russia. The album is dedicated to the imprisoned Russian industrialist and reformer Mikhail Khodorovsky, but this is orchestral music that speaks to political and social circumstances more generally in a way that few other musicians have managed for decades. A new step forward for neo-tonal music, recommended in the strongest possible terms. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1989 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released September 21, 2012 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released January 1, 1985 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released March 15, 2013 | ECM New Series

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Michael Tilson Thomas has said that the music of Russian-born composer Victor Kissine "inhabits this interesting world between Alfred Schnittke and Morton Feldman." You might add the post-Romantic serialism of Alban Berg to that list; although Kissine does not use serial technique, he tends to rigorously build up large structures from an established set of pitches in an atonal context. And the composer himself points to Bach's influence, explicitly audible in the Duo (after Osip Mandelstam), and generally evident in structures based on imitation and counterpoint. Finally, Kissine has been compared with Charles Ives and has quoted him in his own music. This last comparison is perhaps the most fruitful, even though Kissine's almost minimal textures bear little similarity to Ives' expansive worlds. He is one of the few composers to use an original modernist musical language in the service of the depiction of familiar places and ideas, in this case related to the composer's hometown of St. Petersburg. The Between Two Waves title of the first work (and of the album itself) refers to the city's unique estuarine environment, and to a quotation from poet Joseph Brodsky (alluded to in Kissine's impressionistic notes) to the effect that waves on the Neva River always come two at a time. This is worked in with other ideas (from Bach and T.S. Eliot) that you certainly would not guess without prior explanation, but the intricate construction of the music combined with its extreme quietness holds the listener's attention on its own. The performances of the musicians of the Kremerata Baltica (violinist Gidon Kremer appears himself as soloist in the final Barcarola) are equal to the considerable technical demands of the music, and ECM's sound is its usual sterling self. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 20, 1981 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released October 24, 2005 | ECM New Series

Never one to shy away from challenges, Gidon Kremer often confronts them in his recordings of new or unusual music, yet his expression is often under the cover of novelty, or shared with other players. In this 2005 recording of Bach's sonatas and partitas for violin solo, however, the challenges are all internal, as Kremer faces the music nakedly and directly, without recourse to cohorts, gimmicks, clever arrangements, or anything other than the notes on the page. This is, of course, the greatest challenge any musician faces in playing Bach's solo works, and Kremer's interaction with the music is certainly exposed, if not always to the listener's delight. Kremer's tone and expression are chimerical, unpredictable, and sometimes rawly emphasized, and it is sometimes hard to tell if he has deliberately marked out all his dynamics and bowings -- as if parsing all those running sixteenth notes into motives and cells -- or if he has merely left such decisions to the moment's inspiration and spontaneously poured himself out in wave after wave of short, hiccuping phrases and exaggerated gestures. It takes something of an analytical mind to appreciate the finely worked details and studied nuances in his performances; otherwise, listeners who like smoother interpretations will feel its bumpy ride all the way and find his playing more annoying than appealing. ECM's sound quality is topnotch. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 1, 2006 | Nonesuch

Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer's 1999 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. © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Classical - Released March 18, 1996 | Nonesuch

From the violinist and Piazzolla fanatic Gidon Kremer comes this album of works by Piazzolla, along with one song in tribute to the legend. He covers a decent range of Piazzolla's work, moving equally well between slower milongas and faster tangos. The album starts out with the relatively somber, but quite dramatic "Milonga en re." It then moves on to a more upbeat set with "Vardarito" and the grandiose "Oblivion." Then comes "Escualo," which has something nearly akin to a march driving it. The more nostalgic tone of "Café 1930" immediately follows, snapping the listener back into a somber mood. The grand "Concierto para quinteto" makes an appearance, followed by "Soledad" and the deeper, darker sound of "Buenos Aires hora cero." "Celos" follows, to be followed itself by Jerry Peterburshsky's tribute to Piazzolla, "El sol sueno." Many of the attributes of Piazzolla's compositions make themselves apparent in this tribute, though the strings are in places somewhat more standard than Piazzolla's music might normally lead one to be accustomed to. The album finishes on the aptly titles "Grand Tango," for simply violin and piano. Kremer is among a small handful of musicians that are able to aptly evoke the power of the music of Piazzolla to come along since the death of Piazzolla (Yo-yo Ma's masterful album of Piazzolla works also numbers with Kremer). The passion and emotion created by Piazzolla's tangos are performed nearly to perfection here, with the only downside being the absence of Piazzolla himself. The ensemble of Russians and Eastern Europeans makes a surprisingly good stab at Argentine music here, showing if nothing else the universality of Piazzolla's work. Pick it up as a fan of Piazzolla, but pick up some actual Piazzolla first as a newcomer. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1993 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)