New music: Gulfs of Silence

Gidon Kremer is a violinist for the 21st century. This set of works by contemporaries Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass and Vladimir Martynov takes listeners for the deeply feeling, intelligent creatures that classical music has always wished them to be. Pärt, of course, is renowned for his undivided attention to the spiritual in music, of the ascetic rather than the bombastic variety. Kremer starts off with the Estonian composer’s well-known “Tabula Rasa,” arriving at the most scintillating peaks of minimalist tonality, both in “Ludus,” the stormy first movement and “Silentium,” the illuminated second. Glass’ “Company” follows, with its signature repetitions, but Kremer keeps it from even a hint of tedium with a good dose of the high drama that Glass pieces both aim at and crave. And though Martynov’s lovely “Come In!” could have turned into a maraschino cherry in a cup of herbal tea, Kremer’s impeccable sense of balance uses it to set up the finale, Pärt’s “Darf Ich …” At this short but stark conclusion to Silencio, the gravity of Kremer’s project comes clear.

George Tysh is Metro Times arts editor. E-mail him at [email protected].

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