Silvestrov: Dedication; Post scriptum

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COMPOSERS: Silvestrov
LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Dedication; Post scriptum
PERFORMER: Gidon Kremer (violin); Vadim Sacharov (piano); Munich PO/Roman Kofman
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-99206-2
Over the last 15 years or so, the generation of Russian composers born in the Thirties, such as Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina, have become cult figures in the West. But even amongst that group of visionaries, Silvestrov cuts an extraordinary and eccentric figure. Since the Seventies, he’s made, in Gidon Kremer’s words, ‘a nostalgic attempt to awaken Romanticism to a new life’. But in fact the impression you get from these strange pieces is that Silvestrov invokes phrases from Romantic music in order to put them to sleep. A dreamlike haze seems to cover the music, which moves at an underwater pace. The concerto, Dedication, traces the same path in each of its three movements, from a slow, meditative and dissonant beginning to a sweetly Romantic conclusion. But so lush is the texture, so guileless those constant rising step-wise figures, that the transition feels painless despite its suddenness. What movement there is tends to come from the soloist, who agitates the calm surface of the music with tiny febrile gestures, or floats above it with a melodic line. Gidon Kremer switches from one role to the other with marvellous ease. The Post scriptum, described as ‘the beautiful ruin of a sonata’, is even more naive, at one point almost quoting Schubert. Once again, Kremer is a wonderfully eloquent advocate for the music. Ivan Hewett