Pärt • Vasks • Barkauskas • Táár • Plakidis • Dvarionas

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COMPOSERS: Barkauskas,Dvarionas,Part,Plakidis,Táár,Vasks
LABELS: Teldec
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: From My Home
WORKS: Fratres; Nevertheless; Musica dolorosa; Partita; Conversio; Two Grashopper Dances; Elegy
PERFORMER: Gidon Kremer (violin), Vadim Sacharov (piano)Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-14654-2

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The Latvian Gidon Kremer’s disc of 20th-century music from the Baltic States is almost as bleak as expected, but less compelling. The Elegy for violin and string orchestra by Balys Dvarionas (1904-72) is a short and affecting piece firmly in the Romantic tradition. Musica dolorosa, for strings with solo cello (Marc Francoux), by Peteris Vasks (b1946), strikes me, on the other hand, as merely knee-jerk Baltic angst. Nevertheless, a concerto for violin, piano and string orchestra by Georgs Pelecis (b1947), a student friend of Kremer’s, is half an hour of colossal banality based on 18th- and 19th-century clichés; as elsewhere, Vadim Sacharov is the pianist. And the catalogue doesn’t need another indulgently played recording of Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, even in the less often heard 1992 version for violin, strings and percussion. More worthwhile is Conversio for violin and piano, by the lately much-touted Erkki-Sven Tüür (b1959), which begins with a vigorous, apparently folk-inspired minimalism and proceeds, compellingly, to trip over its own feet. Imaginative, folky little solo pieces by Vytautas Barkauskas (b1931) and Peteris Plakidis (b1947) are also welcome. Generally good performances; proper information on composers and works would have helped. Keith Potter