The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Hymns and Prayers. Tickmayer: Eight Hymns In Memoriam Andrei Tarkovsky*. Franck: Piano Quintet in F minor†. Kancheli: Silent prayer‡
Tuesday, 02 November 2010
Gidon Kremer, Marija Nemanytė† (violin) Maxim Rysanov† (viola) Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė†‡ (cello) Khatia Buniatishvili† (piano) Andrei Pushkarev* (vibraphone) Sofia Altunashvili‡ (voice on tape) Kremerata Baltica/Roman Kofman*‡
Tickmayer, Franck, Kancheli
ECM 476 3912
Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer’s 2004 work Eight Hymns runs continuously for nearly twelve minutes, with little to distinguish between each hymn. Mostly they are sequences of slow, quiet string chords with Gidon Kremer gently commentating from high above, punctuated by occasional dabs from vibraphone and piano.
Franck’s Piano Quintet opens with a torrid flourish; Kremer is not a man to pussy-foot with a ‘fortissomo dramatico’ marking. As the performance starts so it continues, highly coloured, mixing passion with poetry, and effectively weaving together Franck’s symphonic grandeur and drawing-room intimacy. In parts of the last movement it sounds more like a tone-poem: it would certainly stand as a vivid piece of story-telling.
Kremer returns to the wispy serenity of the opening work for Giya Kancheli’s Silent Prayer, a substantial work, over 26 minutes long, which for most of its length has a quiet, steady naivety, exemplified by a child singer who might be musing in her nursery. There are occasional violent outbursts, but the prevailing mood is contemplative, with violin and cello moving in long, slow lines. It is to their credit that Kremer and cellist Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė can carry off this exercise in sustained simplicity. The acoustic is of sufficient resonance to fill up the general pause bars in the Franck.
From the November 2010 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.