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Composer, novelist and poet: Lera Auerbach in an american review

A review of Lera Auerbachs 24 Preludes for violin and piano was published in the american music magzine Audiophile Audition, Oktober 2003:

Hats off ladies and gentlemen! A polymath! Lera Auerbach is not only a composer, but a prize winning novelist and poet (untranslated alas, from the Russian), and a concert pianist whos performed at Carnegie Hall with Gidon Kremer. Her 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano are charming, ironic, and dramatic. This is the first release of her own works. Like the oeuvre of that other writer-composer, Paul Bowles (and to some extent Robert Schumann), she has a keen sense of the dramatic. Her miniatures, the longest of which is 5:37, often tell tales. No. 3, begins with a cloyingly sweet melody, evoking a little girl prancing in the woods. Suddenly jarring chords intrude, as if tragedy strikes. A diminished version of the opening theme, higher in key and slower, winds out the piece. Are fairy tales for fools? No. 4 sounds like a melodramatics pastiche of Rachmaninov. Close listening of other pieces reveals traces of her native Russian dances, with sly dissonant interludes inserted when least expected.

Her work reminds me of the polystylism of her countryman, the late Alfred Schnittke. Both composers tip their hats at the music of the past, while simultaneously smirking at it. Sometimes her lyricism is quite affecting, as in the elegiac No. 8, which I never tire of playing for friends. That slow tempo! Those high-pitched violin figures! In three minutes, it evokes images of widows weeping over graves and bombed out cities. Pianist Angela Yoffe and Vadim Gluzman deserve high commendation for making this album both a thrilling ride and a good read. Check out her composition list at and hope more of them get released.

(Peter Bates)

LERA AUERBACH: 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano. Angela Yoffe and Vadim Gluzman. BIS-CD-1242