Kremerata Baltica with Gidon Kremer | Symphony Center | Classical | Chicago Reader

Kremerata Baltica with Gidon Kremer All Ages Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Wed., Feb. 1, 8 p.m. 2017

Now 20 years old, Kremerata Baltica carries institutional heft, making its every move and repertoire choice significant. Though hardly alone in focusing attention on the music of late Polish-born Soviet composer Mieczysław Weinberg, the ensemble, formed by virtuosic Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer, has arguably done as much as anyone to expose Weinberg’s work, most of which was rarely heard outside of the Soviet Union during his lifetime—he died in 1996—and had largely fallen out of favor even there. On Friday, Kremerata Baltica releases the superb Mieczysław Weinberg: Chamber Symphonies, Piano Quartet (ECM), its second album since 2014 examining the composer’s work. Weinberg’s four lush, often brooding chamber symphonies were written between 1986 and 1992, relatively late in his career, with the first three developed from string quartets he’d composed much earlier; Kremerata Baltica will perform the last of the four on this evening’s program. The 1992 work drew from some of his later pieces—including his Gogol opera The Portrait and his Symphony no. 17—and it prominently features clarinet lines imbued with eastern-European folk melodies, gorgeously articulated on the recording by Mate Bekavac, who’ll fill the same role here. While Kremer’s group, which is composed of musicians from the Baltic states, often focuses on lesser-known composers from that region, the rest of tonight’s program veers toward familiar names: Pärt (“Fratres”), Tchaikovsky (Sérénade Mélancolique, op. 26), and Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition), as well as Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov (“Serenade”).

Peter Margasak

Price: $24-$88, $15 students

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