Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gubaidulina, a Tatar treat

Perhaps the greatest living composer. Sofia Gubaidulina (born 1931) is a Russian composer of Tatar origins. Not surprisingly, her daringly experimental style quickly met with official opposition from the Soviets, and it was the support of Shostakovich that saw her true. Her style is highly original and very modern, with a unique way of combining less usual musical instruments. This Naxos CD is a great introduction to her work. It features two of her best compositions: In croce (for cello and organ - or bayan, the latter option having been chosen here) and The seven last words for cello, bayan and strings. Both reflect the religiousness that pervades large parts of her work. The third composition included on the disk is also very worthwhile: Silenzio, for bayan, violin and cello. The performances are excellent, with soloists Elsbeth Moser (bayan, i.e. Russian accordeon) and Maria Kliegel (cello) taking the main roles, supported by Kathrin Rabus on violin and the Transylvanica Camerata, conducted by Gyorgy Selmeczi. A highly recommended disc of a highly recommended composer.