Sofia Gubaidulina’s religious nature, specifically Russian Orthodox, finds expression in each of these pieces. Each also makes use of her much-loved bayan, the Russian button accordion played here with great virtuosity by Iñaki Alberdi. Kadenza is a solo tour de force; Et exspecto, based on the closing words of the Creed (‘I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come’) is an impressive five-movement sonata in which, the booklet-note tells us, the performer’s interpretation goes, with her encouragement, well beyond the composer’s notation.
In the other works, much is made of the combination of the accordion sounds and Asier Polo’s cello. With In croce, a number of cross-like ideas derive from the title – crossing of registers, crossing of lines and textures and so on – which are essentially private creative stimuli for the composer. But in the major work on the record, the half-hour Seven Words, the sentences spoken by Jesus on the cross are graphically, even fervently implied. Gubaidulina’s love of short motifs, here often using very close intervals, produces in her hands music of strong and even painful intensity, seizing and gripping the attention, sometimes with fiercely punched chords on the accordion or with soaring harmonics on the cello that vanish into silence after the final Word. The longest movement is the central No 4, Jesus’s cry, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’, a powerful and deeply affecting invention. This is a remarkable, compelling work. (John Warrack / Gramophone)