Pärt • Glass • Martynov
One of the charms of Arvo Pärt’s Tabula rasa – indeed, its most singular characteristic – is that the music exists in a spiral of repetition, arching upward and onward on a journey without destination. The means lie partly within the chosen form, which is not without an inherent irony; witness ‘Ludus’, the first of the two movements, with its pathos of sturdy marching rhythms dissolving into stasis of prepared piano chiming. To the performers falls the traditional burden of interpretation, and Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica do so with rare conviction, making this among the more desirable readings of this popular work. It is partnered by the first recording of Pärt’s enigmatic Darf ich... for violin, bell and strings. In contrast to Pärt’s asceticism, the cloying variations on the Träumerie-style theme of Vladimir Martynov’s Come In! (1988) for two violins and strings seem excessive. Before post-modernism, the old-fashioned word for this kind of thing was slush. Even Glass’s Company, a premiere recording with string orchestra, sounds robust by comparison; and being stage music for an adaptation of Beckett’s novel, it is short. Quotes from Cage and Kremer about silence and inner searching add new-age spirituality to the packaging of this collection, but little to the music.