Magazine article Gramophone

Kremer and Co Explore Kissine's Brand of Minimalism

Magazine article Gramophone

Kremer and Co Explore Kissine's Brand of Minimalism

Article excerpt

Kissine

Barcarola (a). Between Two Waves (b). Duo (after Osip Mandelstam) (c)

(a) Gidon Kremer vn (c) Daniil Grishin va (c) Giedre Dirvanauslaite vc (b) Andrius Zlabys pf (a) Andrei Pushkarev perc (ab) Kremerata Baltica / Roman Kofman

ECM New Series (F) 481 0104 (68' * DDD)

Like Giya Kancheli, his stablemate at ECM, Victor Kissine now lives and works in Belgium, in his case since 1990. Born in Leningrad and a one-time pupil of Tishchenko, his music falls firmly within the ambit of trance-like minimalism that has become one of ECM s main specialities. His piano trio Zerkalo ('The Mirror') made an attractive if not especially individual filler to Kremer and friends recent recording of the Tchaikovsky Trio (8/11). Like Zerkalo, each work on the new disc lasts between 20 and 25 minutes, and each shares similar pros and cons.

The pros are mainly the beguiling surface sonorities, recognisably drawn from the worlds of George Crumb and Silvestrov with shades of Gubaidulina in the Duo and of Schnittke in the Baracarola.The linking ideas, according to the composer, are the watery topography of St Petersburg and variously disguised references to JS Bach. Each piece comes with associated poetic images (TS Eliot in Between Two Waves, Osip Mandelstam in the Duo and Joseph Brodsky in the Baracarola).

The cons are that no sensibility emerges of comparable distinctiveness to any of the abovementioned figures, and that each piece sags well before its halfway point. Perhaps the Duo, with its 'voiceless choir invoked by the cello bowed vertically, would be more gripping with the visual element added. …

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