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Gidon Kremer in the Soviet Union - Volume 2
Pietro LOCATELLI (1695-1764)

Sonata in F minor
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Seven German Dances
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)

Rondino on a theme of Beethoven
Kleiner Wiener Marsch
Zdenek FIBICH (1850-1900)

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Hungarian Dance No.5
Grigoras DINICU (1889-1949)

Hora Staccato
Nicolo PAGANINI (1782-1840)

Cantabile Op.17
Caprice Op.1 No.4
Caprice Op.1 No.14 arranged SCHUMANN
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)

La Lugubre Gondole
Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881)

Lubos FIäER (1935-1999)

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Prelude Op.34 No.17 arranged TSIGANOV

Rodion SCHEDRIN (b.1932)

Imitating Albeniz
Gidon Kremer (violin)
Hermann Braun (piano)
Oleg Maisenberg (piano)
Recorded 1970 and 1975
AULOS MUSIC AMC2-035 [69.09]


Aulos is certainly excavating the Melodiya string back-catalogue with assiduous intelligence. Alongside their big Shafran retrospective they have turned their eye to David Oistrakh and now to one of his most prestigious pupils, the maverick Gidon Kremer. Often seen as a Huberman de nos jours itís particularly appetising to listen to the young violinist in his Soviet years. He was born in 1947 and was therefore twenty-three when he made the first sides here; there are two sessions, made five years apart and they chart the young musician until 1975 and the threshold of his international career.

There are few more contentious string players in the world than Kremer and one can hear from these earliest recordings how, despite his studies with a tonalist as volcanic and generous as Oistrakh, Kremerís own tonal resources were very much more limited. He had something of a vogue for playing baroque sonatas at around this time but his Locatelli is compromised by an insistent thin tone with scratchy Allegros. Maybe he was slightly too close to the microphones Ė and in passing itís a shame the movements werenít separately banded. Maybe this kind of playing better suits the ascetic temper of our times in its leanness and relative detachment. His Kreisler-Beethoven isnít very exultant though it is good to hear the unfamiliar March. His Fibich is not simply tonally reserved itís positively deadpan and an indication of why Kremer can hardly be considered at all as an exponent of any Romantic repertoire.

His Dinicu is technically fine but has no verve. The chosen Paganini suits his panache-resistant musicianship rather better; thereís nothing intrinsically captivating about it violinistically. His Tchaikovsky Mélodie is neat and tidy and itís certainly welcome to hear the Russian repertoire in his hands Ė he even utilises some piquant finger position changes and adds a dash of colour. The Chandoschkin is, pace the sleevenote, for solo violin Ė and well sustained.

Documentation is to the point; the English translation needs work. The DSD (Direct Stream Digital) transfer, so conspicuously successful in the Shafran series works well again here; access to the master tapes is a huge advantage and Aulos has capitalised on it very well indeed. Kremer has many admirers of course and they will welcome the chance to track him to his discographic lair and encounter his youthful self.

Jonathan Woolf

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