Released on what would have been Glenn Gould’s 80th birthday, this album comprises 11 pieces and arrangements by contemporary composers that quote from or are inspired by works, mostly by Bach, that Gould famously recorded during his career. It is "lovely and alluring," says NPR. "There are many moments in this album to make you smile, wonder and simply bask in the beauty of the music." The CBC calls it "a haunting, highly personal homage from one great musician to another and a deeply affecting tribute to Gould's enduring genius."
Nonesuch Records releases The Art of Instrumentation: Homage to Glenn Gould, by violinist Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra, on September 25, 2012, which would have been Gould’s 80th birthday. The album comprises 11 pieces and arrangements by contemporary composers that quote from or are inspired by works, mostly by Bach, that Gould famously recorded during his career; two Arnold Schoenberg pieces also are drawn upon in one piece.
Kremer explains: “For the tenth anniversary of the Chamber Music Connects the World festival in Kronberg, Germany in 2010, I took up an idea that happens to have been voiced by a friend of mine, Robert Hurwitz, president of Nonesuch. One day, we were discussing Glenn Gould—whom Bob had known for years and with whom I had spent a long night in the studio, along with András Schiff—when Bob asked me, ‘Wouldn’t you like to arrange some of the works played by Glenn Gould for strings sometime?’
“When artistic director Raimund Trenkler asked me what could be done to make the anniversary celebration special, I knew the answer. The focus was to be on one of the greatest figures of all time—Johann Sebastian Bach—and on our times. A bridge was to be built,” Kremer continues. “The resulting program’s distant gaze extends into the realm of Bach but pays tribute at the same time to one of the greatest personae of modern interpretation, Glenn Gould. A persona, whose handwriting cannot be mistaken for anyone else’s. That is precisely what I have always valued so highly and still do—the unique.”
Kremerata Baltica was founded by Gidon Kremer in 1996 and is composed of a group of young musicians from the three Baltic States. They first performed in the violinist’s hometown of Riga, Latvia, in February 1996 and have since toured throughout the world. Kremer, who is the group’s artistic director, described the Kremerata Baltica, in an interview with the New York Times, as “a musical democracy ... open-minded, self-critical, a continuation of my musical spirit.”
The ensemble’s seven previous Nonesuch releases with Kremer are: De Profundis (2010), Mozart: The Complete Violin Concertos (2009), The Russian Seasons (2003), Happy Birthday (2003), Enescu (2002), After Mozart (2001), Silencio (2000), and Eight Seasons (2000). The violinist’s albums on the label also include Tracing Astor (2001), El Tango (1997), Homage à Piazzolla (1996), and John Adams’ Violin Concerto (1996).
Produced by Helmut Mühle
Recorded February 17–20, 2011, at Latvian Radio Studios, Riga, Latvia
Recording Engineer: Varis Kurmins
Editing: Johannes Müller
Mastering: Christoph Stickel
Design by John Gall
All transcriptions and pieces (except Dedication to J.S.B.) were commissioned for the Chamber Music Connects the World festival in Kronberg, Germany, and premiered there May 19, 2010.
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz
Gidon Kremer, solo violin and artistic director
Violins: Eva Bindere, Sandis Steinbergs, Dzeraldas Bidva, Rasa Vosyliute-Mickuniene, Migle Diksaitiene, Sanita Zarina, Jana Ozolina, Andrejs Golikovs, Andrei Valigura, Agne Doveikaite, Migle Serapinaite, Monta Vermane, Lasma Taimina
Violas: Daniil Grishin, Ula Ulijona Zebriunaite, Vidas Vekerotas, Zita Zemovica
Cellos: Marta Sudraba, Eriks Kirsfelds, Giedre Dirvanauskaite, Peteris Cirksis
Double basses: Danielis Rubinas, Indrek Sarrap
Percussion: Andrei Pushkarev
Andrei Pushkarev, vibraphone (1, 2, 7, 9), percussion (4), marimba (9)
Dita Krenberga, flute (4, 6, 7)
Justina Gelgotaite, oboe (6, 7)
Reinut Tepp, cembalo (6, 9), piano (7)
Dzeraldas Bidva, violin (8)
Agne Doveikaite-Rubiniene, violin (8)
Daniil Grishin, viola (8)
Vidas Vekerotas, viola (8)
Giedre Dirvanauskaite, cello (8)
Peteris Cirksis, cello (8)