Leading musicians use concert platform to highlight human rights issues in Putin’s Russia.
Gidon Kremer’s highly anticipated concert “To Russia With Love” has gone ahead in Berlin’s Philharmonie with a line up of soloists including Martha Argerich, flautist Emmanuel Pahud, trumpeter Sergei Nakariakov, pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, composer Giya Kancheli, cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, bayan player Elsbeth Moser, the Ukrainian children’s choir, conductor Roman Kofman and Kremer’s own Kremerata Baltica. A range of human rights agencies including Amnesty International supported the concert.
A hushed crowd packed the concert hall to hear a meditative program that included moving performances of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Sinfonietta, one of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Seven Last Words, Arvo Pärt’s gentle Estnisches Wiegenliedand Giya Kancheli’s The angels of sorrow. In a gesture of support, the 78-year-old Kancheli was in the audience.
Among the solo highlights was a beautiful rendition of the Allemandefrom Bach’s Second Cello Suite by Altstaedt, a blistering account of the third movement from Prokofiev’s Seventh Piano Sonata by Khatia Buniatishvili, and Pahud playing a delicate flute transcription of Lensky’s Aria.
The finale featured blockbuster performances from Martha Argerich and trumpeter Sergei Nakariako in the last movement of Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto.
The concert was programmed to highlight a...