Der St. Petersburger Komponist versteht es, mit kargen Mitteln eine magische Atmosphäre herbeizuzaubern. In ‚Between Two Waves’ deuten sich die fragilen Konturen eines Klavierkonzerts an, in der Barcarola mit der Kremerata Baltica und dem Solisten Gidon Kremer schälen sich unvermittelt einige dramatische Momente aus dem klanglichen ‚Fast-Nichts’ heraus, ein Duo für Viola und Violoncello stellt eine Reflexion über Zeilen von Ossip Mandelstam dar. Kissines ‚couleur locale’ ist nicht illustrativer Art, sondern Ausdruck einer Suche nach dem ungreifbar Geistigen an einem auratischen Ort.
Max Nyffeler, Neue Musikzeitung
Between Two Waves is both a title for the opening work and a key to the link between all three pieces in this programme. The composer’s own notes describe the city in which he was born, St Petersburg, as having ‘a seaweed savour’ and being a place which ‘inspires elegies’. The opening of the piano concerto is certainly atmospheric in an elegiac way, with a pervasive shimmering of water expressed through tremolando strings, trills and beams of light shining through from the notes of the piano. This is no conventional piano concerto, and the solo instrument is often a point of repose between the restless strings, an inversion of virtuoso preconceptions for the genre. This sparse musical language begins to take on a more disturbing character about halfway through; the notes beginning to lurk in ever deeper extremes or being disguised through subtle bowing effects. The opening notes of the piano return however, a kind of safe haven from which to embark on a new adventure, or is it the same adventure through different conditions? These are labyrinthine waters, constantly changing in slow motion, but constantly reminding us that our forward momentum is negligible, and the final notes lead us into a parallel universe where it could all happen all over again … [...]
These works were recorded at the Lockenhaus Festival 2011, and in the words of the composer they belong together to form ‘a kind of cycle’. Collectors of other Lockenhaus titles from the ECM label will hopefully be aware of a certain kind of atmosphere in these performances, and this is indeed the case here as well. This is a hard quality to define, but for me most recordings from this source have a constantly brewing creativity and a vibe of newness and the uniqueness of ‘the moment’. There is virtually no audience noise to be detected with these live performances: there is no applause to break the spell, and the sound quality is excellent.
This is music which lives just below the surface of easy recognition and simple themes, but it is not music which confuses with unnecessary intellectual posturing or over-complexity. The imagery and ambience is that of honest creativity by a mind and an ear keenly tuned to the moods of his subject, and as such this is a release which can haunt and inspire.
Dominy Clements, Music Web International