Kremerata Baltica records Béla Bartók’s String Quartet No. 2

András Keller, renowned Hungarian violinist, conductor and pedagogue, joined Kremerata Baltica to share his deep and unique knowledge of Bartók‘s music. Two years ago, in January 2018, Kremerata Baltica, András Keller and Gidon Kremer met in Vilnius, Lithuania and spent 10 days rehearsing Bartók’s String Quartets No. 2 and 5. There was no concert planned, there was no recording – it was a period of creativity, musicianship and discovery. Maestro Keller was teaching us, word by word, sentence by sentence, how to understand and speak the language of Bartok’s music. It became obvious, that the idea of learning Bartok’s quartets with the string orchestra has a huge potential for creativity but it requires an immense amount of time, effort and commitment. But we were all inspired and determined to continue our studying with Maestro Keller and in September 2018 we performed for the first time Bartok’s Quartet No. 2 in our own arrangement for string orchestra.

Finally, in May 2019 we got together in Vilnius for a recording session of String Quartet No.1, op. 7 in A-minor. The effort here was not only to deeply learn the music but to experiment with the new possibilities that 21 musicians bring to this music: differences between quartet “solo” and orchestra “tutti”; creating very gradual diminuendos and crescendos by reducing or adding players through the duration of the phrase; using the space to bring more definition and individuality for motives by performing the solos from different stands and passing the motives to each other to create one fluent, connected phrase. It was a hard work but we couldn’t help but feel proud about this recording and look forward to continue on our quest to record all Bartok’s quartets.

In December 2019 we met with András Keller in Budapest to learn a completely new piece for us – Bartok’s String Quartet No. 3. In a span of 5 days we were learning the music and again trying to find out which new possibilities can the string orchestra bring to this music.

And now we met in Riga, Latvia to record Bartok’s String Quartet No. 2.

Thank you so much to everyone who was a part of it! A very special gratitude goes to our concertmaster Džeraldas Bidva, leaders and soloists Yamen Saadi, Jevgenija FrolovaGiedre DirvanauskaiteKristaps Pētersons, sound engineer Vilius Keras and the artists who inspired this project to happen and keep teaching us to speak the language of music – Gidon Kremer and Andras Keller! Two quartets already recorded – four more to go!

We hope we will be able to share with you this wonderful music soon!

Here are some photos from our recording session. While we wait to share with you our recording, here is the recording of Bartok Quartets by Keller Quartet which we highly recommend to listen!