The Fine Art of Juxtaposition


by Matthew Gurewitsch

Gidon Kremer

The Mozart year, still in progress, will have seen few programs of greater integrity, interest, and intelligence than the pair scheduled for Carnegie Hall on December 6 and 7, when Gidon Kremer takes the stage as director and soloist with the German Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. The five violin concerti are scheduled, alternating with contemporary pieces that, in their own ways, comment on the classical style.

Such juxtapositions are a Kremer specialty; at the Salzburg Festival this summer, he offered, with the same forces, a mixed bill of Johann Sebastian Bach and the contemporary Arvo Pärt (including his whimsically titled “If Bach Had Kept Bees”): complementary exercises in spirituality. What lessons are in store this time, with Lourie’s Concerto da Camera and Schnittke’s Mozart d la Haydn

back to back with Mozart concerti a la Mozart? Nothing conventional, you may be sure. Besides, there is the austere beauty of Kremer’s playing to look forward to. For tickets call 212-247-7800. Other concerts by Kremer and the German Chamber Philharmonic are slated for Chicago, December 3 and 4; Los Angeles, December 9 and 10; San Francisco, December 12; and Berkeley, December 13. For home listening. Kremer’s readings of the Mozart concerti are available on a pair of compact discs from Deutsche Gramtnophon.

Another string artist of an independent turn of mind is the youthful master cellist Matt Haimovitz, not yet 20. His recordings to date, under the batons of such maestros as James Levine and Andrew Davis (Deutsche Grammophon), are of the salable standard repertoire. But for a recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 28 (212-570-3949), he has chosen a high road that should prove—for himself and his listeners—as fascinating as it is challenging. There will be three unaccompanied works: suites by Bach and Britten and a sonata by Ligeti (whose ethereal textures were heard to haunting effect on the soundtrack of 2001: A Space Odyssey). The finale is the world premiere of Improvisations for Solo Cello and Electric Guitar. w ith Steven Mackey, specially composed for the occasion.

Matt Haimovitz