Sofia Gubaidulina – Dialog: Ich Und Du; The Wrat

Album cover art for upc 028948614578
Label: DG
Catalog: B003463802
Format: CD

Vadim Repin, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Andris Nelsons

Dialogues with the Divine "It never ceases to thrill me how Sofia Gubaidulina combines intellect, spirituality and sensuality in her works. Her music gets right under your skin," enthuses Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons about the grande dame of new music, born in 1931. Their collaboration began in 2017 with the world premiere of her Triple Concerto in Boston, and since 2019 Nelsons has engaged her for several seasons as Gewandhaus composer in Leipzig. The fascination of the music of the Tatar-born composer, who has lived near Hamburg for almost 30 years, stems in no small part from the great spirituality of her works. "While I compose, I pray, no, actually I talk to God," the deeply religious composer confesses. Her works focus on man in his relationship with God; they are personal dialogues with the divine. This also characterizes the three works recorded here for the first time, which can be counted among the composer's late works. And they reveal another fascinating aspect of Gubaidulina's oeuvre: her work in larger work complexes. One develops from the other, revolves around the same theme and processes common material. The composer likes to speak of "cultivating" and compares herself to a gardener The most recent of her major works, which gave rise to further compositions, is the oratorio On Love and Hate (2016 / 18), with which Sofia Gubaidulina appeals to humanity to follow God's commandments and overcome hatred in reconciling love. In the context of this oratorio, she also wrote the violin concerto Dialog: I and You and the orchestral work The Wrath of God The dialogical principle is already inscribed in the title of the violin concerto Dialog: I and Thou is already inscribed in the title. The composer refers to the book of the same name by the religious philosopher Martin Buber (Ich und Du, 1923), in which he describes the world as "two-fold" - also because man often tries to describe it with opposing word pairs. Gubaidulina captures this in a complex dialogue between violin and orchestra. From silence, the solo violin opens the dialogue, which is repeatedly interrupted in cadence-like fashion, and which becomes denser and leads to dramatic outbursts - until, at the end, the solo instrument and the orchestra drift far apart: the violin's four-stroked A at a dizzying height is underpinned by a resigned minor chord in the orchestra. After her first two violin concertos (Offertorium for Gidon Kremer, 1980, and In tempus praesens for Anne-Sophie Mutter, 2007, both released with the dedicatees by Deutsche Grammophon), Sofia Gubaidulina wrote her third violin concerto for Vadim Repin, who premiered it in 2018 with conductor Andres Mustonen in Novosibirsk. This recording is a live recording of the German premiere in December 2019 from the Leipzig Gewandhaus In parallel with the Violin Concerto, Sofia Gubaidulina was working on a new orchestral work, for which she expanded the third-to-last movement of the oratorio On Love and Hate (No. 7: The Wrath of God) into an independent orchestral work with the same title. "God is angry, angry with mankind, with our behavior. We have brought guilt upon ourselves," she explained in the run-up to the premiere, which after several attempts finally took place in November 2020 - in a ghost concert without an audience, due to corona - at the Vienna Musikverein. The dazzling Dies-irae painting for giant orchestra lifts with a mighty unison brass theme and unloads its rage and despair in three great waves of climaxes that lighten only episodically. As in the oratorio (and also in the violin concerto), all the themes are based on the interval of the minor second as a nucleus, whose potential for friction is exhausted in all its drama. At the end, the work culminates in an apocalyptic jubilant fanfare - in the oratorio, God's wrath already played the role of a key movement with a cathartic effect Gubaidulina dedicated the work to "The Great Beethoven", and indeed parallels to Beethoven's late work can be discerned in the archaic concentration of this music. She is currently expanding Wrath of God into a two-part Beethoven homage commissioned by Andris Nelsons for the Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra Commissioned by the Boston Orchestra, Sofia Gubaidulina also created the third work on this album, The Light of the End, which received its world premiere at Boston Symphony Hall in 2003 under the baton of longtime Gewandhauskapellmeister Kurt Masur. The composer based this work on a basic physical conflict in music: the incompatibility of the natural tone series with tempered tuning. These phenomena clash from the very beginning of the work, when the natural tones of the horns are juxtaposed with the tempered tuning of the orchestra. The conflict leads to dramatic escalations and culminations and is exemplified once again in the centre of the work, a duet of solo horn and cello. For Gubaidulina, this work manifests "the incompatibility of nature and real life, in which nature is often neutralised. Sooner or later I had to address this pain in a composition." The title of the work refers to the final section, which provides a glimmer of hope with sparkling cymbal sounds For Andris Nelsons, this recording was a ray of hope in a difficult time: "The musicians of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and I recorded the two orchestral works during the Corona Shockdown, and Sofia Gubaidulina's music gave us a great deal of confidence in this. This musical portrait for her 90th birthday will hopefully convey the emotional power of her music to a larger audience." (Tobias Niederschlag)

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