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CD Spotlight

Focus on Loneliness

Music by Lera Auerbach
and Shostakovich -
reviewed by
HOWARD SMITH

'... unfailing virtuosity.'

Auerbach - Shostakovich - Ballet for a Lonely Violinist - music for violin and piano. Vadim Gluzman and Angela Yoffe. © 2006 BIS Records AB

When Shostakovitch died Lera Auerbach was a two-year-old infant living in Chelyabinsk, her birthplace in the Urals. Now in her early 30s, she's the youngest and arguably among the most noteworthy composer(-pianist) on the books of Internationale Musikverlage Hans Sikorski, Hamburg; publisher to Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Gubaidulina and Kancheli.

She made a Carnegie Hall début in May 2002 taking part in her own Suite for Violin, Piano and Orchestra with Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica. Consequently Auerbach works have since featured at each Carnegie season.

Beyond that the compositions are performed by many international artists, orchestras and ballet companies and commissions have been presented at leading festivals among them Lucerne, Bremen and Schleswig-Holstein.

In her role as solo pianist Lera has appeared at the Bolshoi Saal of Moscow Conservatory, New York's Lincoln Center, Oslo's Konzerthaus, Chicago's Symphony Hall and Washington's Kennedy Center.

The Little Mermaid, a commission by The Royal Danish Ballet, celebrated Hans Christian Andersen's bicentenary and was premièred to widespread acclaim in April 2005.

The CD title work, Lera Auerbach's Lonely Suite (Ballet for a Lonely Violinist, 2002) Op 70 is a work of six titled movements -- the longest taking 3'12" [listen -- track 10, 0:01-0:52] , the most fleeting, just 56 seconds -- 10'34" in total. Vadim Gluzman is the dedicatee and here, paying conspicuous attention to successive nuances, he conveys the fragmentary moods with an air of proprietorial artistry and unfailing virtuosity.

With their focus on loneliness most of Auerbach's titles speak for themselves -- 1 Dancing with Oneself, 2 Boredom, 3 No Escape and 4 Imaginary Dialogue. The final segments, 5 Worrisome Thought and 6 Question, are less clear-cut.

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Copyright © 28 December 2006 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand

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