Sofia Gubaidulina: Dialog: Ich und Du etc
Vadim Repin (violin); Gewandhausorchester, Leipzig/Andris Nelsons (DG)
Dialog: Ich und Du*; The Wrath of God; The Light of the End
*Vadim Repin (violin); Gewandhausorchester, Leipzig/Andris Nelsons
DG 486 1457 57:24 mins
This triptych of three recent pieces, recorded to mark Sofia Gubaidulina’s 90th birthday, really need to be heard live in the concert hall for the connections between fascinating sonorities to be properly made, the role of space and silence as essential components. Andris Nelsons reports on how recording the two orchestral works with his Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra during lockdown in May and June 2020 ‘gave us a good deal of faith and confidence at this time’.
Yet there are only glimmers of the catharsis to be found in Gubaidulina’s first major work for violin and orchestra, Offertorio. In Dialog: Ich und du, ostensibly her third violin concerto (the first two already recorded for DG by their respective dedicatees Gidon Kremer and Anne-Sophie Mutter), Vadim Repin remains in a more uneasy dialogue with an intermittently aggressive orchestra, passing almost beyond the bounds of audibility. The Wrath of God expands on the seventh movement of the oratorio Of Love and Hatred, and sits here as the darkest place of the triptych, low unison lines echoing what we’ve heard in the concerto. The Light of the End promises a luminosity we only get at the end; after the continuity of Wrath of God, we’re back to fragments that somehow connect, as in late Schnittke. Full marks, anyway, to Deutsche Grammophon for standing alone among the big-name companies in documenting one of the most important musical voices of our age.