“The artistic atmosphere in Lockenhaus soon has everybody speaking on the same wavelength.”
In time for the 30th anniversary of the unique chamber music festival co-founded by violinist Gidon Kremer and Pastor Josef Herowitsch in the Austrian village of Lockenhaus, ECM issues a 5-CD box of recordings.
As he explains in an interview in the 60-page book included here, Kremer originally sought out Lockenhaus in 1981 as a ‘home with open doors’, wanting an artistic centre of a kind he’d not had since leaving Moscow, a place where friends could congregate to share musical discoveries. Very different from the more conventional classical festivals, Lockenhaus, quickly became a gathering point for musicians, young musicians primarily, eager to pool their energies, knowledge and skills.
Early in Lockenhaus’s history, producer Manfred Eicher began working with Gidon Kremer, recording the music of the festivals, and an “Edition Lockenhaus” was launched under the larger umbrella of ECM New Series. Out of print now for some years, the first Lockenhaus recordings have been eagerly sought out by collectors.
The box reprises recordings from 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, and 1986 – previously issued as Edition Lockenhaus Volumes 1/2 and 4/5 (ECM 1304/05 and 1347/48). These recordings are fascinating for many reasons and not least for their opportunity to hear some of the finest chamber musicians of our era, alongside Gidon Kremer, early in their respective careers. The long list includes musicians now strongly associated with ECM: Kim Kashkashian, Thomas Zehetmair, Thomas Demenga, Robert Levin, Heinz Holliger and more.
The edition opens with unreleased recordings – from 2001 and 2008 – with Sir Simon Rattle and Roman Kofman conducting Kremerata Baltica in revelatory performances of Richard Strauss’s “Metamorphosen” and Olivier Messiaen’s “Trois petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine”. The committed interpretations convey the spirit of Lockenhaus. (Kremer himself has described Sir Simon Rattle’s conducting of Richard Strauss’s music as “unforgettable”).
Discs two through five focus on music of César Franck, André Caplet, Francis Poulenc, Leos Janácek, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich and Erwin Schulhoff. Original liner notes and a new essay discuss the featured compositions in detail.