An open letter from Gidon Kremer to Mirga Gražinytė-Tylamain
Gidon has allowed Slipped Disc to publish his letter to Mirga after their Birmingham performance of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s 21st symphony, titled Kaddish.
Dearest Mirga !
Dear friends and colleagues – musicians of CBSO and Kremerata Baltica.
I am writing to you to express my personal gratitude and excitement ,which I was not able to share with you last night due to the stressful day and sudden end of the “patching session”.
First at all let me tell -something I already said to you ,Mirga, after listening to the concert recording of “Kaddish” on Sunday: “this score did convince me once more , that there is “life after death”.
Many thanks to you, to all CBSO musicians and its administration (especially to Stephen)- to have accepted our “Kremerata family” (including its office-“Magicteam”) to be part of a unique project we dreamt about for almost a year. The exchange of serious and committed music-making did give all of us a very special feeling, which on our Kremerata language is called “Searching for music”.
We all know, that at times of J.S.Bach, Telemann was the more “recognised “ and appreciated composer.
We know as well that it took decades for the world to discover the greatness of–to mention just few names- Schubert, Wagner or Bartok . These are not the only examples. Time allows and demands us to look at things and values differently.
Time has come as well to recognise the genius of Mieczyslaw Weinberg-one of the most important composers of the 20th century. His closest friend and associate Dmitry Shostakovich valued very highly Weinbergs creativity . As recently Shostakovich widow Irina told me- “Dmitry Dmitrievich would be more than happy to see how the world step by step discovers the special qualities of his dear colleague, the values of which he always believed in”.
The music of Weinberg not only has a “signature”, but -what differentiates him from many accomplished masters of composition in the 20 century-is deeply personal. There are many more works by Weinberg to become better known in future and especially in the next year ,while celebrating the composers 100 anniversary (1919-2019). This in fact motivates me strongly to do as much as I can for the “renaissance” of a most important and still underrated (by some) composer.
Dear Mirga! Dear friends!
Our joint and most powerful UK premiere of the “Kaddish” Symphony on Saturday can be seen as an important milestone of this necessary discovery. You certainly could sense it-the performance really became an event, which members of both orchestras and our dear guests soloists ( Maria,Freddie, Iurii, Georgijs and Oliver -along with many more brilliant CBSO musicians ),who participated in this project (not to forget-myself!) will never forget.
As I already said to you after our dress rehearsal-it simply made me happy to see, that my dream became true. Thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of you, dear Mirga, and your full commitment, all of us became ONE sounding emotional “body”.
This-in order to become an advocate of a statement, which in the most powerful way describes the tragedy never to be forgotten. The performance of “Kaddish” was a reminder of the true meaning of our profession-not just to play perfect sounds, but to deliver “messages” .
Exactly this should make all of us proud of the achievement.
It was a really historic concert, filled with undeniable positive energy and the sense-so rarely occurring our days of music commercialisation ,“crossover” and the “event industry”-that music-making still makes sense and leads us (while serving its creators) into another world – a world of emotions on a deepest level. I do sincerely think, that Saturday’s concert reached the hearts of all participants as much as those who “only” listened to the performance.
To me the world of Weinberg is undeniable related to another great composer of the 20th century. No doubt-the dimension and deepness of “Kaddish” is in many parameters truly “Mahlerian”.
Weinbergs statements (remaining pieces of true art) do spread around empathy to all sufferings of the past, while we still in different ways are surrounded by tragedies in todays world.
Let me once more express my deepest gratitude for allowing the young Baltic musicians and myself to be part of this unforgettable experience.
It is wonderful that technology (and a great team of sound engineers led by Vilius Keras) allowed us to document the event. I am sure that the message of “Kaddish” being an important piece of music, will slowly but surely spread around and become known to many people in the world.
Let’s hope that our accomplished mission will “carry fruits” for many other scores of Mieczyslav Weinberg, who -despite his personal tragedy-was able to create such a masterpiece.
Being an “artist in residence” this season with CBSO allows me to look forward to my next visit to Birmingham and your wonderful orchestra.
I am sure, that Kremerata Baltica’s young musicians, who appreciated highly the possibility to cooperate with an orchestra of such greatness as CBSO is, do hope in future to participate in another joint project.
We are more than happy to welcome you, dear Mirga, next week performing another Weinberg Symphony in Vilnius. However-the experience of “Kaddish” will stay with me and all of us forever.
Last ,but not least.
Dearest Mirga, we already for some years do speak the same language.
I wish us to stay for many more years in this wonderful dialogue.
Let your inspiration continue to share your soul with all those people ,who are able and happy to follow your talent and vision.
With personalities like you-there is a future for music.
Warmest greetings to everybody, who allowed me and us to have such an enriching experience.
Yours truly Gidon .
November 26/27, 2018 Birmingham-Vilnius.
Read a review of the concert here.