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Capriccio über die Abreise for 2 violins; 3 Choruses on Poems of Daniil Kharms for women's choir and girl narrator.
Meditation on 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit' for harpsichord and string quintet; Silenzio for accordion, violin and cello; Ein Engel. . . for alto and double bass; Dancer on a Tightrope for violin and piano.

'Astraea' improvisation group
: Free improvisation.
BIS-CD-810 [78'24]  

This superb CD, recorded live in 1995 at Gidon Kremer's Lockenhaus Festival in Austria (KREMERata MUSICA IV) has previously been recommended by Seen&Heard for its important representation of Sofia Gubaidulina, whose music included here was recently heard in London through a long, revelatory day of her compositions. It is good to have on disc the great Gidon Kremer himself walking the dancer's tightrope.

The festival, held in the first half of July, is very much a 'family & friends' type of affair, and this CD has prompted me to put its opening on 4 July into my diary. The Meditation on 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit' has the famous Elisabeth Chojnacka (harpsichord) involved, and also two of the Beckova Sisters who defected to England in the '80s. Ein Engel. . . for alto and double bass introduces Alexander Suslin, son of the other featured composer, Viktor Suslin, a decade younger than Gubaidulina and not previously known to me, a gap which I was pleased to fill.

Firm friends since the '70s, when their improvisation group provoked great criticism in the Soviet Union, Sofia Gubaidulina & Viktor Suslin (b.1942) have settled close to each other near Hamburg. There are some charming children's choruses by Suslin, a little too difficult (as yet) for children's choirs to master, and a touching Farewell to his homeland on departing from the Soviet Union in 1979, chronicling in juxtaposition his decision and reflections in a successful piece of true programme music for two violins (Kremer & Hanna Weinmeister). Lastly, there is an improvisation by Gubaidulina ('an excellent percussionist') with Suslin father & son.

A classy, loving production, with fullest documentation by Albert Seitlinger & the composers themselves.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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