Every year as the concert season approaches its end, the Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra traditionally pays a visit to Cēsis Concert Hall, treating the listeners to previously unheard programmes and new discoveries.
This time around, the great violinist Gidon Kremer and his orchestra have centred their programme around the ‘Four Japanese Seasons’ cycle by the world-renowned Japanese film composer Shigeru Umebayashi. The piece for violin, string orchestra and percussion was written especially for Kremer and Kremerata Baltica. It was first performed in September 2015 at the Kronberg Academy Festival (Germany); the Japanese premiere took place in Tokyo in October 2015.
Born in 1951, Shigeru Umebayashi won international recognition with his film scores, many of which have brought him prestigious prizes. The composer has written the soundtracks for more than thirty Japanese films, while his greatest global triumphs were Zhang Yimou’s ‘House of Flying Daggers’, Tom Ford’s ‘A Single Man’ and Wong Kar-wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’.
The Japanese mood will be followed by Hungarian-Austrian composer György Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1 ‘Métamorphoses Nocturnes’. The centenary of Ligeti, one of the most significant contemporary classical composers of the second half of the 20th century, is marked this year by the musical world.
Part Two of the concert will feature ‘Another Winter Journey’, a cycle of musical pieces dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Kremerata Baltica, initiated by Gidon Kremer and inspired by Franz Schubert. Maestro Kremer has commissioned numerous pieces before, and they have often been dedications to some of his favourite composers.
Twenty years ago, approached by Gidon Kremer, Leonid Desyatnikov wrote ‘Wie der alte Leiermann…’, a piece for violin and string orchestra referencing the final song of Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ song cycle, dedicating it to the Maestro and the orchestra. The composer noted that his source of inspiration, the famous song written in the early 1800s, was a minimalist masterpiece and that his own opus should not be viewed as a paraphrase or a fantasy but rather a comment on the original melancholy piece – a work combining his personal style with allusions to Austrian Romantic music.
As part of the ‘Another Winter Journey’, fantasy comments on Schubert will be offered by three other composers invited by Kremer – Raminta Šerkšnytė, Alexander Raskatov and Georgijs Osokins.