Victor Kissine: Between Two Waves

Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica


Following on from Victor Kissine’s luminous orchestration of Schubert’s String Quartet in G Major (ECM 1883) and his own “Zerkalo” with Kremer and friends (ECM 2202), here is the first ECM album devoted entirely to the compositions of the composer from St. Petersburg. The flavour of the sea pervades the three recent compositions heard here, variously inspired by the poetry of Mandelstam and Brodsky: the concerto for piano and string orchestra “Between Two Waves”, the Duo (After Osip Mandelstam) for viola and violoncello, and “Barcarola” for violin, string orchestra and percussion. All three pieces are dedicated to the collaborating players – Gidon Kremer and the musicians of Kremerata Baltica. Of the “Barcarole”, Kissine has said that it reflects the experience with Kremer and company on the earlier Schubert orchestration. Subsequently Kissine “wanted to write a piece that was orchestral but intimate – a kind of ‘concerto in watercolour’. The explicitly chamber character of the ‘Barcarole’ guided me toward the form of a concerto in one movement, which also unfolds in waves.” The album, recorded at last year’s Lockenhaus Festival, is issued in time for Kissine’s 60th birthday on March 15, 2013.

Auf Victor Kissines leuchtende Orchesterbearbeitung von Schuberts Streichquartett in G-Dur (ECM 1883) und seine „Zerkalo“ mit Gidon Kremer und Freunden auf dem Album „Piano Trios“ (ECM 2202) folgt hier das erste ECM-Album, das gänzlich Werken des Komponisten aus St. Petersburg gewidmet ist. Das Aroma des Meeres durchdringt die drei jüngeren Kompositionen, die hier zu hören sind, unterschiedlich stark inspiriert von der Lyrik von Mandelstam und Brodsky: das Konzert für Klavier und Streichorchester „Between Two Waves“, das „Duo (After Osip Mandelstam)“ für Viola und Violoncello, und „Barcarola“ für Violine, Streichorchester und Perkussion. Alle drei Konzerte sind den hier beteiligten Musikern gewidmet - Gidon Kremer und den Mitgliedern der Kremerata Baltica. Über seine „Barcarola“ hat Kissine gesagt, sie reflektiere seine Erfahrungen mit Kremer und dem Ensemble bei der eingangs erwähnten Schubert-Orchestrierung. Von da an wollte Kissine „ein Stück schreiben, das orchestral, aber auch intim ist, eine Art ‚Konzert in Wasserfarben’. Der explizit kammermusikalische Charakter der ‚Barcarola’ führte mich zur Form eines Konzerts in einem Satz, das sich zudem in Wellen entfaltet.“ Das Album, aufgenommen beim Lockenhaus-Festival, erscheint rechtzeitig zu Victor Kissines 60. Geburtstag am 15. März 2013.
Featured Artists Recorded

July 2011, Lockenhaus

Original Release Date


  • 1Between Two Waves - Concerto for piano and string orchestra (2006/2008)
    (Victor Kissine)
  • 2Duo (after Osip Mandelstam) for viola and violoncello (1998/2011)
    (Victor Kissine)
  • 3Barcarola for violin solo, string orchestra and percussion (2007)
    (Victor Kissine)
Issued in time for the 60th birthday of the composer from St Petersburg, “Between Two Waves” is the first ECM disc devoted entirely to Victor Kissine’s music. It follows on, chronologically and conceptually, from two earlier New Series recordings (ECM 1883 and ECM 2202), both of which featured Gidon Kremer and his associates.

It was while working with Kremer and friends on the realization of his luminous orchestration of Schubert’s Quartet in G Major in 2003 that Kissine began to consider the creative possibilities of a new piece that would be “orchestral but intimate - a kind of ‘concerto in watercolour’.” This was the conceptual idea that set in motion the composition “Barcarola”, for violin solo, string orchestra and percussion.

All three pieces on the present disc of premiere recordings are dedicated to their respective interpreters, and all draw inspiration from the poetry of Osip Mandelstam and Joseph Brodsky. The three compositions were recorded at the Lockenhuas Festival 2011 and form “a kind of cycle” in the words of the composer. A unifying factor is “a flavour of the sea”. The topography of St Petersburg, city of canals (“the Venice of the North”) may also be reflected in the project, Kissine says: “Right bank, left bank and the two open arms of the bridge in between. The “Duo After Osip Mandelstam” [for viola and violoncello] begins and ends with a see breeze, while the waves in “Between Two Waves” [concerto for piano and string orchestra] unfurl right up to ‘Barcarola’.” The pieces are also linked by references to Bach, explicit in the Duo and implied in “Between Two Waves” and “Barcarola”.

The music’s signature, however is unmistakably Kissine’s. “Many experiences and emotions – friendship, admiration and affinity – lie beneath the surface of this reticent musical language,” Belgian critc Frans C. Lemaire has noted. “[It] prefers soft murmurings to loud pronouncements, and closely restricts the development of the melodic material. [Kissine’s] music does not celebrate vain and noisy human activity, but seeks to recapture a kind of lost harmony which – far removed from the world – is borne up by the mysterious voices of silence.“