An exciting piece of contemporary music (Gubaidulina) which in a radical fashion broadens the reception of sound.
The extra frisson of a concert performance.
American Record Guide 9/96
The Presence of the Physical
As the single contemporary work in the Edition so far, the Duo of Sofia Gubaidulina, “Rejoice!” for violin and cello seems somewhat isolated, especially as Kagan was very interested in modern music. The recording of the Finnish Kuhmo première of 1988 appears in Volume 1. One finds here also strong physical presence, perhaps even stronger than in the Shostakovich piece. Moreover there is an incredible variety of tone colour. Interesting to hear is how the typical Kagan sound is forced to disappear behind Gubaidulina’s playing instructions and how it reappears when the composition becomes very emotional. What is characteristic of Kagan’s playing? The quick, brilliant vibrato? It isn’t just decoration but has an effect of an unique aura. Or is it his command of the bow, in piano parts vulnerable and fragile, in Forte full and physically present? Most important is that despite these very personal characteristics, the violin never comes before the music, that his virtuosity never covers up Gubaidulina’s work. This is achieved thanks to the honesty with which Kagan uses his phenomenal technical ability, his musical persuasiveness and his deep comprehension of the music itself.
Basler Zeitung 3/99