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Sofia Gubaidulina instrumental works
"in the mirror; three works, three genres, three epochs"
BIS limited edition anniversary series

Piano Quintet
Rieko Aizawa, piano; Kai Vogler and Mira Wang, violins;
Ulrich Eichenauer, viola; Peter Bruns, cello

Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra
Beatrice Rauchs, piano
Kyiv Chamber Players conducted by Vladimir Kozhukhar

Dancer on a Tightrope (Recorded live at the 1995 Lockenhaus Festival)
Gidon Kremer, violin; Vadim Sakharov, piano

BIS-CD-898 [68'43]

This compilation of instrumental works by Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931), in contrasting styles and musical idioms, is a timely reminder of her development from the early influence of Shostakovich to the unique personality of her later compositions.

The piano quintet of 1957, composed in the Soviet era under the shadow of Shostakovich, is viable in the longer term & is the earliest work which Gubaidulina still acknowledges. A vital, always interesting contribution to a by no means overcrowded genre, it is here played with compelling ardour, and excellently recorded in Schloss Moritzburg in Germany, where the lead violinist was one of the founders of the Chamber Music Festival.

There are three different pianists to be heard on this CD, each excellent, as are the accompanying musicians. The most recent work is the exploratory violin piece composed for Gidon Kremer as the Tightrope Dancer (1993), & recorded live from his Lockenhaus Festival, with Vadim Sakharov playing the piano with glass tumbler and thimbles inside and, eventually, fingers on the keyboard.

The piano concerto Introitus (1978) is ritualistic and makes a powerful, direct impact. It eschews virtuosity and has an elaborate symbolic programme in its use of musical elements, and number symbolism in its construction; the full explanation is best left for reading afterwards!

This lovingly produced CD is a welcome release in the limited edition anniversary series at mid price which BIS has issued to celebrate the thirty years during which Robert von Bahr's company has grown to become an essential force for the distribution of the music of important 20th C. composers it has elected to promote, von Bahr's visionary genius of comparable importance in the history of classical recording to that of the late Fred Perry, founder of Hyperion.


© Peter Grahame Woolf