Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gidon Kremer - Back to Bach|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Gidon Kremer's In Your Face Bach, and a Documentary about Kr
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 06/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Few would disagree that Gidon Kremer is a very individual artist; certainly he is his own man. This is at least partly because of the way this Latvian artist was treated in the Soviet Union, even after (or perhaps because) he had become renowned in the West. While still a student he recorded Bach's Partitas for Solo Violin and then he recorded them again along with the Solo Sonatas in 1980 when he'd moved to the West. Now, a quarter century further along he records the Partitas, after not having played them in public for two decades. His take on these cornerstone works has changed somewhat in that he is even more decisive in his choices of tempi, dynamics and phrasing. These are in your face performances, played with utterly true intonation, demonic double stops, and complete control. There will be those who don't like these bravura interpretations but I found myself gaping again and again at the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) individuality of his playing. These are very Romantic performances and although in the accompanying documentary Kremer disavows any attempts to perform as a 'virtuoso', the playing is exceedingly virtuosic. Filmed in the gilt-laden interior of the St Nicholas Church in Lockenhaus, Austria where Kremer founded a chamber music festival years ago, the visuals are stunning, as are the sonics. I can imagine there are those who would prefer the classic recordings by Milstein or Grumiaux, but these performances should also be heard. They are available in CD format, along with the Sonatas, on the ECM label.J.S. Bach: The Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo
The accompanying hour-long documentary includes a long set of interviews with Kremer (all in German but with English subtitles) plus clips of parts of rehearsals and performances. Particularly exciting was a rehearsal with Simon Rattle and the BPO of Sofia Gubaidulina's 'Offertorium' which is based on Bach's 'Musical Offering.' (This has been recorded by Kremer with Charles Dutoit and the Boston Symphony. Sofia Gubaidulina: Offertorium (Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, 1980) / Hommage à T.S. Eliot, for Octet & Soprano (1987) - Gidon Kremer / Charles Dutoit. Truth to tell, though, I found myself more than a little bored with the documentary as it seemed filled with platitudes about Bach and his music. Others might feel otherwise.
Picture format: NTSD, 16:9; Sound: PCM stereo, Dolby 5.1, DTS 5.1; Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish; Region Code 0 (worldwide); Disc format: DVD 9; TT: 132mins (Partitas 74mins; Documentary 58mins)
Gidon Kremer: Greatest Violinist
Christopher Bonds | 02/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many great fiddlers performing today, but few who have the deserved reputation of Gidon Kremer. Here is an artist who does not follow the tried and true path, but is always searching, experimenting, and growing as a musician and musical thinker. This DVD was a real treat for me, as I have collected his recordings for years and even had the rare opportunity to see him live in concert. I have his original recording of the six sonatas and partitas for solo violin of Bach, which he recorded in the late 1970s. It is an outstanding recording. Why did he decide to revisit them a quarter-century later? As he explains in a revealing documentary on this DVD, he seldom records anything twice. (This is true--he has recorded the exquisite Schubert C Major Fantasie at least twice, the first time with his wife at the time, Elena Kremer. But I can't think of anything else right now.) But for some reason, he felt drawn to revisit these masterpieces of Bach, not because he didn't like his first effort--he did. But he felt that for at least some of them, he had something to add because he himself had changed and grown over the time in between.
This DVD contains performances of the B minor, D minor and E Major Partitas for solo violin of Bach, performed in a church in Lockenhaus, as well as the documentary film about the recording. If one is used to watching violinists like Heifetz and Oistrakh, who didn't move around very much and registered relatively little facial expression, one may initially be a bit uncomfortable watching Kremer. However, this should wear off in a short time as one pays attention to his music making, which is technically near-perfect and musically challenging. You may not always agree with his interpretation, but again, as he comments in the film, there is no one right way to play Bach, and his interpretation must stand with literally thousands of others.
In the documentary Kremer comes across as very human and not conceited in the slightest. He's not afraid to show us behind-the-scenes footage of the taping session, complete with a few fluffed retakes (he stamps his foot in a mini-tantrum after one flub that I'm sure only he could hear!), and uses an electronic tuner and metronome--tools that I myself use, so I'm glad to see that an artist of his stature isn't beyond that. But more importantly, he has important things to say to aspiring musicians.
There is much more to this DVD than I have time to talk about right now. If what I write helps you make up your mind to buy it, I'm glad for that. It's a wonderful document!"
Gidon Kremer - genius, humility and integrity
Pierre du Toit | Gauteng South Africa | 08/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Godin Kremer has long been admired for his thoughtful and often fearless interpretations. This DVD illustrates his genius in his performance of the Bach Partitas for violin solo, his knowledgeable humility in his comments in the excellent documentary extra, and his musical and intellectual integrity in both. A must-have for the serious listener."