Arvo Pärt – Fratres (1984)

The 1984 ECM album Tabula Rasa was the vehicle that introduced the revolutionary music of Arvo Pärtto audiences outside Eastern Europe and initiated what was to become one of the most extraordinary musical careers of the late 20th century. Like many of the first generation American minimalists, he limited himself to diatonic harmonies and generated pieces by setting processes in motion, but the radical simplicity he achieved was the result of religious contemplation that was at least as, if not more, formative than his quest for a new musical aesthetic. The result was music suffused by an unhurried, luminous serenity, and while it was distinctly contemporary, it had an archaic quality that tied it to the music of the very distant past.

Fratres, originally for chamber orchestra, is undeniably Pärt´s most popular work and exists in well over a dozen versions, two of which are included here. Gidon Kremer and Keith Jarret bring great nuance and sensitivity to the version for violin and piano. They play somewhat loosely with details of the score, but they are entirely in sync with the spirit of the piece, and it’s a gripping performance. The violin part is hugely virtuosic and Kremer is breathtaking, particularly in the crystalline purity of the outrageously high harmonics that end the piece. The arrangement of Fratres for 12 cellos is an altogether more lyrical and meditative version, and the cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra play it with gorgeous tone and depth. [source]

A1: Fratres : Piano – Keith Jarret / Violin Gideon Kremer (11:26)

A2: Cantus In Memory Of Benjamin Britten : Dennis Russel Davies – Conductor / Staatsorchester Stuttgart (5:00)

A3: Fratres: Performer – The 12 Cellists Of The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Performer (11:51)

B1: Tabula Rasa: Saulius Sondekis – Conductor / Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra / Alfred Schnittke – Piano (Prepared) / Gideon Kremer – Violin / Tatiana Gindenko – Violin (26:08)

Recording: Fratres, October 1983, Basel / Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten , January 1984, Stuttgart / Fratres (for 12 celli), February 1984, Berlin / Tabula Rasa, November 1977, Bonn, (Live recording by West German Radio, Cologne) / Released on EMI Records


[Dedicated Ronnie Rocket, thanks for inspiration]

Martha Argerich and Friends: Live from the Lugano Festival 2006

No other pianist in the musical world nurtures and promotes emerging talent with the same level of personal commitment and belief as Martha Argerich. The results of the chamber music partnerships displayed on this release demonstrate the magic which is made when these professional friends get together. Not to be missed.

This 3CD set welcomes back many familiar names from the three previous Live from the Lugano Festival releases including EMI Classics-signed pianists Gabriela Montero and Sergio Tiempo and Virgin Classics’ inimitable violin- and cello-soloist brothers, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon.

The high quality of the performances on offer on these collections is clear. For the last two years Argerich’s “Live from the Lugano Festival“ collections have been nominated for Grammy Awards – most recently for Best Classical Album and Best Chamber Music Performance in the 2007 awards.

The musical landscape is broad in this year’s collection. Alongside works by classic miniaturists Mendelssohn and Schumann sit nocturnes by the 20th-century master of the mood Debussy, in arrangements for two pianos, and works by contrasting Russian composers Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) and Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998).

Martha Argerich and Friends return once more to Lugano this June for the sixth Martha Argerich Project at the Lugano Festival.