MOZART Sinfonia concertante.1 Serenata notturno.1 BOR McMozart’s Eine kleine bricht Moonlicht Nicht Musik. PÄRT Mozart-Adagio.1 SCHNITTKE Moz-Art à la Haydn1 • Gidon Kremer (vn); dir; Kremerata Baltica Read more class="BULLET12b">• EUROARTS 2072228 (DVD: 81:38)
Euroarts has combined videos with the common title, “Mozartwoche in Salzburg 2002,” recorded live on January 31 and February 2 in the Mozarteum, into a highly entertaining and, at times, deeply moving program. The DVD offers a 16:9 aspect ratio, allowing wide-screen viewing that approaches near HD quality, as well as a choice between PCM, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1 sound. Kremer, in his mid-fifties, had lost none of his technical acuity and little of his tonal luster. But what might at times appear mere quirkiness seems in this compilation a great sense of sometimes irreverent fun.
The DVD’s program begins with a performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante, with Kremer as violinist and ?la ?lijona as violist. Kremer starts things off, but otherwise serves more as a train conductor than an orchestral one; still, he appears a charismatic leader. In the first movement, he and ?lijona provide performances to match their sparkling tempo. In personality, Kremer overshadows his violist partner, as he does both technically and tonally, rich-toned—almost cavernously so on the G and C strings—though she may sound. Both read from the printed music, though ?lijona seems more intent on the written page. The engineers have captured their soloists well within the orchestral frame, perhaps an appropriate choice in a double concerto without virtuosic pretensions. (?lijona, with her warmer, less clearly focused sound, seems more likely to disappear behind orchestra than does Kremer.) And the videographers provide visually crisp, almost unobtrusive camera work, except when music stands block the view. The contrast between soloists continues into the second movement, in which a tempo that never lingers allows for dialogue, though not perhaps a breathlessly intimate one, but allows in the many homophonic passages for a more imposing unanimity.
After credits, a reduced ensemble begins the second program with Mozart’s Serenata notturna. Kremer, conducting, may have submitted himself to sharp orchestral discipline as the second of two violinists (according the premier role to the sweet-toned Anna Kandinskaja), yet he remains the soloist visually. In the last movement, Kremer has added to Mozart’s already profuse wit genial effects of his own, like his sharply etched and highly effective but almost clownish cadenza, followed later by ones for violin and viola, for two violins, and for timpani. If Mozart and Kremer have provided the wit, the other musicians join wholeheartedly in the fun. The miniature by “Professor Teddy Bor” brings the second program to a close: it’s the first movement of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik mixed in a potpourri with Scottish popular and fiddle tunes, an unbridled romp that includes even the chestnut Auld lang syne. The whole might seem little more than a joke if it weren’t played with such enthusiasm and élan.
The third program begins with Arvo Pärt’s Mozart-Adagio, which Marion Vera Forster’s notes identify as a tribute to the composer’s deceased friend, violinist Oleg Kagan. Throughout this trio with cellist Marta Sudraba and pianist Reinut Tepp, based on the slow movement of the Piano Sonata, K 280, Kremer remains a quintessential chamber musician, selflessly pursuing the transformation of Pärt’s fey atmosphere, which grows progressively disturbed, tortured, and dissonant. The camera, suddenly pulling into the distance, complements the work’s eldritch auditory sense. The final piece, Alfred Schnittke’s Moz-Art à la Haydn, begins with the lights lowered, as the screen subtitle informs viewers, until figure 2. The visual effect of this work seems integral, although the auditory one almost suffices, as in the opening’s increasingly urgent filigrees around high-pitched sul ponticello squeaks, sighs, and groans. Kremer’s fellow soloist, Marija Nemanyte, matches his articulation; Schnittke’s expanded harmonic sense and the ensemble’s textural changes easily accommodate the visual effects, as when the musicians suddenly change chairs. Fragments come and go, some as familiar as the opening of Mozart’s 40th Symphony, while the contrapuntal complexity intensifies. A strobe focusing on the ensemble as the players retire from the stage narrows to a pulsing spotlight on the solo bass, who alone remains (the reference to Haydn?).
For those who may have grown to regard Gidon Kremer’s individuality as a stuffy parody of itself, and for those who enjoy serious music mingled with serious—and occasionally not-so-serious fun—Kremer’s Mozart Week in Salzburg may prove just the antidote. But, integrating visual elements so strongly into the format, it makes a perfect candidate for DVD presentation. Urgently recommended, then, to all kinds of viewers. It’s hard to believe that many wouldn’t take renewed interest in Kremer and his projects like this one with young players.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
REGION CODE NTSC: 0
PICTURE FORMAT: NTSC, 16:9
SOUND FORMATS: PCM-STEREO, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1
BOOKLET: English, German, French
NO OF DISCS: 1
RUN TIME: 88 mins Read less