Gidon Kremer in New York

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John F
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Gidon Kremer in New York

Post by John F » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:59 am

He sneaked into town to perform his transcriptions of 24 Preludes by Weinberg at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Typical Kremer. If I'd known I would have been there, but I don't believe there was any advance publicity - certainly none that I saw. The NY Times review:

Review: Violinist Gidon Kremer Shares 24 Soviet Snapshots
NOV. 1, 2017

The centenary of the Russian Revolution has sparked a flurry of commentary on how and why the Soviet Union was born. On Tuesday the Baryshnikov Arts Center presented a program that reflected on what it was like to be alive inside of it. Subtle and sparse, the hourlong show pairing music by the Soviet composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg with black-and-white images by the Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus delivered a lingering emotional charge.

The program, “Preludes to a Lost Time (Imaginary Dialogues),” was conceived by the Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer. For some years he has championed the music of Weinberg (1919-1996), a Polish-born composer from Shostakovich’s inner circle, whose darkly lucid music is beginning to gain wider recognition. In recent seasons audiences as far afield as in Berlin, Madrid, Houston and New York had a chance to experience his harrowing Holocaust-themed opera “The Passenger.”

With Weinberg’s 24 Preludes, Mr. Kremer turned the spotlight on Weinberg’s skill as a miniaturist, capable of conjuring potent moods in condensed, abstract form. These snapshots — most last less than two minutes — were written for unaccompanied cello. Mr. Kremer transcribed them for solo violin and performed them with focus and clarity.

Each Prelude is a study in dialectics with seemingly irreconcilable ideas made to share a claustrophobically small space. Melodic fragments appear at the extreme low and high registers of the instrument; a phrase rendered in lumberjack-brawny full tone is answered by skittish scratches; a lyrical rumination comes up against a dead-end of dry-rubber plucked notes. And though the tension is never really resolved, there is something hopeful and generous in the drama of trying — 24 times in a row.

Some of the magnanimity of the original version is lost in Mr. Kremer’s translation. After all, the cello is better equipped to express both the depths and the heights of human experience, the bass and the treble of the human vocal range. Maintaining the four-octave reach of Weinberg’s Preludes sometimes pushes the violin close to dog-whistle territory.

But with his choice of visual material Mr. Kremer taps into a different expressive register. Many of Mr. Sutkus’s photographs hum with the same tension as Weinberg’s music: An image of a mother and child sitting on a bench in the sea, their legs outstretched against the motion of the waves, expresses all the exhilaration of a shared moment bracing the elements of nature.

One prelude, which sounds like a Sarabande haunted by the ghost of Bach, was accompanied by an image of a sacred statue propped up against a wall, half held by a young woman. The image was displayed only for what seemed like a second or two before fading, but the disorienting sense of reversal, of the divine sustained by the human, continued to develop in the dark as the searching music played on.

As the afterimage of each projected photograph lingered, burned into the viewer’s retina, the performance seemed to speak of the difficulty in making sense of a chapter of history known increasingly by the shadow it left behind. ... nberg.html
John Francis

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Re: Gidon Kremer in New York

Post by lennygoran » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:00 am

John F wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:59 am
at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
I never even heard of this venue. Regards, Len ... gK5RvD_BwE

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Re: Gidon Kremer in New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:58 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:00 am
John F wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:59 am
at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
I never even heard of this venue. Regards, Len ... gK5RvD_BwE
And I never heard of the composer or that piece, though I have now listened to it and like it, and didn't know that Kremer is Latvian (it is an arguably German name) or is only 70 years old.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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