Sofija Gubajdulina

Sofia Gubaidulina (1931, Russia), is regarded, together with Schnittke and Den-isov, as one of Russia’s leading contemporary composers. The deter-mined advocacy of Gidon Kremer, the dedicatee of Gubaidulina’s mas-terly violin concerto, Offertorium, helped bring the composer to international attention in the early 1980s. Gubaidulina is the author of sym-phonic and choral works, two cello concerti, a viola concerto, four string quar-tets, a string trio, works for percussion ensemble, and many works for non-standard instruments and distinctive combinations of instruments. Her scores frequently explore unconventional techniques of sound production.
Gubaidulina is a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg, the Royal Music Academy in Stockholm, and the German order “Pour le mérite.” She has also received nu-merous other recognitions. Major releases of her music have appeared on labels such as DG, Chandos, Philips, Sony Classical, BIS, and Berlin Classics.

In Croce was originally written for violon-cello and organ in 1979. Gubaidulina dedicated this work to the violoncellist Vladimir Tonkha who, together with organist Rubin Abdullin, premièred it in Kazan. Having begun in the 1980s to compose for the bayan (a Russian type of chromatic button accordion), the composer joined forces in 1991 with the Swiss artist Elsbeth Moser and rearranged the organ part for bayan. On the one hand, the work’s title itself suggests Christian themes, which is the case in many of her works, whilst referring, on the other hand, to a procedure whereby various instrumental registers, motivic and chordal sets are cross-distributed between the violoncello and accordion parts. Framed by a clear and transparent form, the piece offers much in the way of textural diver-sity, which is one of the main traits of Gubaidulina’s music.