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Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Have a Sneaking Feeling This Isn't Gidon Kremer's Official MySpace

Tularosa?Unless by "Latin" he means "Latvian." I just watched Back to Bach (EuroArts), his new DVD of the Bach Partitas for solo violin, and it was an odd experience. Never having seen him play in person, Kremer has only existed for me as photographs and disembodied sound; I'd never heard him speak or seen the way he bends his knees when he fiddles. It's nice to get to "know" him. And of course the performance itself is phenomenal. I have found Kremer's recent ECM recording of the Sonatas & Partitas literally mesmerizing--no, I mean literally mesmerizing, as in, it's no use talking to me while they're playing, because at some point you'll ask me a question and discover that I have been hypnotized by counterpoint for the past three minutes and have not heard a word you've said--and while the video editing is occasionally a little choppier than it has to be, the sound is good, and I'm delighted to actually see Kremer's amazing bowstroke pick all the different lines out of a string of sixteenth-notes. The accompanying documentary is engaging enough. Kremer warms up, tunes his fiddle, makes a face after a bad take or two. In interview, he confesses that he's actually still fond of his first recordings of the Partitas (now unavailable; thanks, Philips): while he has a few interesting things to say on the subject of Glenn Gould and Bach interpretation, his urge to re-record isn't as quite like the fierce revisionism of Gould's New Goldberg-Variation Testament of 1981. Sir Simon Rattle and Sofia Gubaidulina, two more musicians I've never seen sit down for chit-chat, also put in talking-head time, and while I was glad to hear from them, I found myself wishing by the end that the gang at EuroArts had just padded the disc with more fiddle-porn. Why not show us the Sonatas, too? Ah, well. Maybe worth buying, even if you already own the CD (you do own the CD, right?), and definitely worth renting. Netflix has it! Trailer & more info here.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Find an interesting three- or four-minute clip, rip it, and put it on YouTube. Plz. Thnx.