Gidon Kremer, Back to Bach

Violin virtuoso Gidon Kremer and Bach

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Gidon Kremer — Violinist

Program notes

There's no question about it – this man is annoyed. His violin bow swooshes through the air like a saber. Again and again, the final bar of the famous E Major Partita for Solo Violin fills the empty baroque church in Lockenhaus. Gidon Kremer has holed up for several days here in the Austrian state of Burgenland to record Bach's three Solo partitas. It will be his last encounter with these milestone compositions in violin literature.

The film accompanies the famous violin virtuoso for one week, showing rehearsals, recording sessions and discussions with a few trusted confidants. For Kremer, born in Latvia, this is an important time in his life: "Bach accompanies a musician his whole life," he says, recalling his first performances of the composer's works. Kremer is, and has always been, one of the most headstrong and original artists in the music business.

The film goes on to show his other encounters with J.S. Bach's works. In the early 1980s, after being declared a persona non grata in the Soviet Union, Kremer moved to the West and made a recording of the Solo partitas. The Phillips record went down in music history and for decades was the benchmark in the music guild. The young virtuoso was catapulted to fame virtually overnight in the Western world. Archival footage shows the gawky, long-haired Kremer at his first concerts – he hasn't played the partitas in public for over twenty years.

But "there are important works to which you keep returning because they are the wellspring of all music. And so I felt an increasing desire to return to Bach."

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