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The Canticle Of The Sun

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The Canticle Of The Sun
The Canticle Of The Sun


Sofia Gubaidulina's 80th birthday in October 2011 generated much press coverage around the world, appropriately stressing the uniqueness and the variety of her compositional approaches. Both are in evidence on this album of recordings from the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria. Gidon Kremer is the soloist and Kremerata Baltica the ensemble on the world premiere recording of The Lyre of Orpheus, dedicated to the memory of Gubaidulina's daughter, while cellist Nicolas Altstaedt takes the solo role in The Canticle of the Sun, which the composer wrote in tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1997.

Gidon Kremer has long been a committed advocate of Gubaidulina's work, and the composer has praised the way the violinist seems to unleash music from the soul. In The Lyre of Orpheus, a work of austere beauty and raw lyricism, violin, string orchestra and percussion intermingle in new ways. At a subterranean level, the piece is also an exploration into acoustic phenomena and the physics of sound, with pulsating difference tones part of its underlying structures. It was recorded in 2006, a month after Kremer gave the first performance.

The Canticle of the Sun, recorded in 2010, revisits the celebrated piece composed for Mstislav Rostropovich for his 70th birthday. Rostropovich's famously sunny disposition was an inspiration, by association prompting Gubaidulina to set St Francis of Assissi's "Canticle of the Sun" for choir. In his ECM recording debut, the young German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, a current BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, takes on the highly expressive lead role. A further, timely, Lockenhaus connection here: in 2012 Altsteadt takes over from Kremer as the new director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival.

Personnel: Gidon Kremer (violin), Marta Sudraba (cello), Kremerata Baltica; Nicolas Altstaedt (cello), Andrei Pushkarev, Rihards Zalupe (percussion), Rostislav Krimer (celesta), Chamber Choir Kamer..., Maris Sirmais (conductor)


  1. Name
  2. The Lyre of Orpheus (2006)
  3. The Canticle of the Sun (1997, rev. 1998), Glorification of the Creator, and His Creations - the Sun
  4. Glorification of the Creator, the Maker of the four elements: air, water, fire and earth
  5. Glorification of life
  6. Glorification of death
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