DATE March 4, 2003 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/Aâ¨ TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/Aâ¨ NETWORK NPRâ¨ PROGRAM Fresh Airâ¨â¨Interview: Anthony Swofford discusses his book "Jarhead" and hisâ¨experiences in the Gulf Warâ¨BARBARA BOGAEV, host:â¨â¨This is FRESH AIR. I'm Barbara Bogaev, in for Terry Gross.â¨â¨In August 1990, Anthony Swofford was deployed to Saudi Arabia as a lanceâ¨corporal in a US Marine Corps sniper platoon. He'd just turned 20. In hisâ¨new memoir "Jarhead," about his experience during the Gulf War, Swoffordâ¨describes the tedium and the absurdity and the loneliness of waiting in theâ¨desert for the ground war to begin. He writes of the relentless sand andâ¨heat, of blood lust and the devastation of war. In a review, Mark Bowdenâ¨called "Jarhead" a classic that will go down with the best books ever writtenâ¨about military life. He writes, `As Swofford moves through a nightmareâ¨landscape of exploding ordnance, raining petroleum, the threat of invisibleâ¨killing gases and death, his terror and his joy are one.'â¨â¨Swofford's fiction and nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, Harper'sâ¨and The Iowa Review. "Jarhead" is his first book. We begin with a reading.â¨In this passage, Swofford comes upon a group of dead Iraqi soldiers, stillâ¨arranged in a circle around a campfire, where they had been surprised byâ¨American bombs.â¨â¨Mr. ANTHONY SWOFFORD (Author): `Six tin coffee cups sit among the remains ofâ¨the fire. The men's boots are cooked to their feet. The man to my right hasâ¨no head. To my left, the man's head is between his legs and his arms hang atâ¨his sides like the burnt flags of defeated countries. The insects of the deadâ¨are swarming. Though I can make out no insignia, I imagine that the manâ¨across from me commanded the unit, and that when the bombs landed, he was inâ¨the middle of issuing a patrol order, "Tomorrow we will kick some Americanâ¨ass." It would be silly to speak, but I'd like to. I want to ask the deadâ¨men their names and identification numbers, and tell them this will soon end.â¨They must have questions for me, but the distance between the living and theâ¨dead is too immense to breach. I could bend at the waist, close my eyes andâ¨try to join these men in their tight, dead circle, but I am not yet one ofâ¨them. I must not close my eyes.'â¨â¨BOGAEV: What made you go down there and sit with those corpses?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Oh, fascination, wanting to become closer, more intimate withâ¨the devastation, perhaps a hope that moving into that tight, dead circle thatâ¨I would kind of find some distance between me and my own possible death thatâ¨was forthcoming maybe to the north, which is where we were heading to fight.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Were you told anything about how to prepare for combat or possibleâ¨death? For instance--I don't know--to clean up your stuff in case you'reâ¨killed and there might be something among your effects that would beâ¨embarrassing to your family.â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: It was probably a few days before ground combat began, and aâ¨few days prior to that, my platoon started running missions across the border.â¨There was a big berm that had been built between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, andâ¨we were right up at the berm for a few days and running missions across in theâ¨evening. But our staff sergeant directed us to get rid of, oh, say, you know,â¨any Marine letters that weren't from your girlfriend or your wife orâ¨pornography. Essentially it was anything that your wife or your girlfriend orâ¨your mother would rather not see. There was word that a few guys who died inâ¨a friendly-fire incident--an A-10 had dropped a rather devastating bomb on aâ¨troop carrier, and there was word that among the effects of one of these guysâ¨who was married, there were--oh, I don't know--half a dozen photos and lettersâ¨from various people that, you know, may have been nothing serious and simply aâ¨way of finding solace over there for him. But, yeah, the word was get thatâ¨stuff out of your ruck, out of your sea bag, bury it, burn it, get rid of it.â¨â¨BOGAEV: When you did first engage the enemy in combat, what happened?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Well, the first time, we were in sort of a high spot in theâ¨desert, and our communication shop was setting up in an area where they wouldâ¨get the best reception, but where it also made us visible to an enemyâ¨observation post that was across the border and in a bit of a range, and soâ¨that first event was artillery rounds that were incoming on our position. Weâ¨were just beginning to dig in around the battalion command post when theâ¨rounds came in, and at first, you know, I didn't believe that they wereâ¨artillery rounds exploding in front of me.â¨â¨BOGAEV: When the rounds hit the sand, what did it look like?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Well, for me, it looked like a flower blooming, exploding and,â¨you know, the sand is burnt a bit black and, yeah, there's a little explosion,â¨so it's the burnt munitions, along with the beige of the sand combining, andâ¨then kind of raining down after the explosion.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Now after the all-clear was called, what did you and the rest of yourâ¨unit do? Did you set up to attack the enemy position?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Well, as the, you know, forward observers for the battalion,â¨that was our mission, and my partner Johnny was the first to gain visual onâ¨the enemy observation post. And with his guidance, along with another Marine,â¨I gathered the map location of the enemy position and prepared a call for fireâ¨to put into the fire center. I was going to be asking for bombs from a plane,â¨probably a Harrier. But just as I was about to make that call, a captainâ¨arrived who thought it best if he called the mission in, and so the handset ofâ¨the radio was taken from my hands and handed off to this captain, who, indeed,â¨made the call, and the bombs were impacting shortly thereafter on this enemyâ¨position across the way.â¨â¨BOGAEV: During your time in the Gulf War, did you train your sniper's rifleâ¨at a living being and did you fire?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: I did train my rifle on a few living beings. I never did fire.â¨Johnny and I were deployed with another battalion that was fighting at the Alâ¨Jabar airfield in southern Kuwait, and there were enemy officers in the airâ¨control tower on the airfield, which all the glass was shot out, and they wereâ¨rather prime targets. We asked to take shots, asked for permission. We wereâ¨in our position and prepared to shoot, but we were asked to hold off.â¨â¨And then later in the day, as the infantry did their work on the airfield, aâ¨group of Iraqis--probably a little less than a platoon--they were attemptingâ¨to surrender, but there was no one near to surrender to. They had their bootsâ¨off and strung around their necks and were waving T-shirts or underwear,â¨whatever kind of white material they'd found. And eventually, they sat downâ¨and began eating their rations, and I guess they assumed that someone wouldâ¨come along that they could surrender to. And I was somewhat frustrated withâ¨those men because, you know, I obviously couldn't shoot them, but I poppedâ¨around from head to head, pretending that I might have.â¨â¨BOGAEV: You did that in your mind's eye, you mean. No?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: I did that with my rifle, with my scope.â¨â¨BOGAEV: And then you took them prisoner or what happened then?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Someone else took them prisoner.â¨â¨BOGAEV: How did you find out the war was over?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Well, in a rather peculiar way. My partner Johnny and I hadâ¨been on a mission, and over the course of the mission, which was about a day,â¨we'd seen a lot of retreating Iraqi vehicles, and over the radio frequenciesâ¨we heard of an occasional fight, an occasional skirmish with troops, but weâ¨weren't picked up the next morning when we were supposed to be, which causedâ¨us a bit of concern, and we decided to hike our way back to what we knew wasâ¨supposed to be the last position of our unit, and as we made the rise that wasâ¨just our side of the flat where our unit was supposed to be, we heard musicâ¨and we were kind of concerned. We thought it was a trick. We didn't knowâ¨really what was happening because the war was still on, and we slowly climbedâ¨up this rise, our bellies in the sand, and on the other side of it, there wereâ¨men from our battalion with their shirts off playing football. You know, Jimiâ¨Hendrix, I think, was piping through the com towers. The first sergeant who'dâ¨played the game with a kazoo was handing out cigars, and everyone was happyâ¨because the war was over, and that's how Johnny and I had found out thatâ¨things had ended.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Now after the war was declared over, you took part in the cleanupâ¨operation, and you went through Iraqi bunkers, and you write that you allâ¨gleefully ran through the enemy positions and noting the hundreds of differentâ¨ways a man might die when 500-pound bombs are dropped on a weakly fortifiedâ¨position. And a Marine in your battalion became obsessed with one of theâ¨Iraqi corpses. What was the nature of his obsession?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Well, for this Marine, I think the corpse both signified hope,â¨because he was alive, and also maybe despair, because the war had ended andâ¨he'd been looking for more of a fight, and perhaps he was already havingâ¨trouble with the issue of having not really been involved in a long war.â¨â¨BOGAEV: What did he do to the corpse?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Well, he desecrated the corpse. He took his E-tool to it,â¨which is a small folding shovel, and he made this corpse his kind of specialâ¨project and went at it daily until it was buried.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Who buried it?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: I did. I was tired of knowing that that was happening. It wasâ¨sickening and troubling, though this Marine probably, you know, went on toâ¨another corpse to do the same and, you know, he had his reasons for doing thatâ¨that are probably not acceptable to anyone.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Did you take anything from these Iraqi bunkers with you?â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Yeah, I did. I took some dog tags off of a few corpses. Theirâ¨dog tags were rather crude things, whereas in the US, we use a press, andâ¨their dog tags are just on thin sheets of metal and the information isâ¨scrawled in with an awl. And I still have those dog tagsâ¨â¨BOGAEV: Yeah. There's a lot of mythology about dog tags. I think you writeâ¨in the book that people would order tons of them to surround themselves withâ¨as many pairs as possible, as if that would be a talisman against death.â¨â¨Mr. SWOFFORD: Yeah, absolutely, the idea that, you know, your mother has aâ¨pair and your little brother and your girlfriend, and you nail them to theâ¨wall in some bar in the Philippines, and you've spread yourself so far andâ¨wide that there's no way you can die because your dog tags are out there,â¨pulsing, you know, around the globe.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Anthony Swofford's new memoir is "Jarhead."â¨â¨Coming up, we remember singer and songwriter Hank Ballard. This is FRESH AIR.â¨â¨* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *â¨â¨Filler: By policy of WHYY, this information is restricted and hasâ¨been omitted from this transcriptâ¨â¨* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *â¨â¨Interview: Gidon Kremer discusses his family and his musicalâ¨careerâ¨BARBARA BOGAEV, host:â¨â¨This is FRESH AIR. I'm Barbara Bogaev.â¨â¨The next time it's your birthday, instead of listening to friends sing to youâ¨off-key, you could play one of the variations of "Happy Birthday" from the newâ¨album by my guest, Gidon Kremer and his KREMERata Baltica orchestra.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: And that's "Happy Birthday" in the style of Dvorak. Gidon Kremer isâ¨an internationally renowned violinist. This is how Yo-Yo Ma describesâ¨Kremer's playing: `It's as if he's creating the music at that moment, thatâ¨he's organically part of the composer's mind, and the notes are passingâ¨through him.' Kremer is also known as a musician who takes risks. Throughoutâ¨his career in post-Stalinist Russia, he championed contemporary composers whoâ¨were out of favor with the Soviet leadership. After emigrating to the West,â¨Kremer became enthralled with the music of Astor Piazzolla, before the tangoâ¨was widely accepted in the classical repertoire. In 1996 he founded theâ¨KREMERata Baltica, a chamber orchestra made up of young musicians from threeâ¨Baltic states--Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Let's hear some more "Happyâ¨Birthday" variations from their new CD.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: I asked Gidon Kremer how he put the chamber orchestra together.â¨â¨Mr. GIDON KREMER: It was just a couple of weeks before I celebrated my 50thâ¨birthday and I had this idea to give myself a present by organizing anâ¨orchestra, but I intended to assemble the musicians only for a summertime, forâ¨the 1997 festival in Lockenhaus, a festival which I do run now already for 22â¨years. So around my 50th birthday I wanted to assemble musicians from theâ¨countries I was in my youth the closest to, since I am a native of Latvia.â¨But once I got to know these people, once I started to work with them, itâ¨became evident to me that I can't part from them, and I just want to maintainâ¨this wonderful atmosphere of cooperating with these musicians.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Now you were born in 1947 in Riga, Latvia, and your parents were bothâ¨violinists, also your grandfather, right?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: That's correct.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Did they all play in the state orchestra?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: My grandfather was a professor at the Academy of Music in Riga,â¨and both my parents played in the National Radio Orchestra. My mother workedâ¨there for 27 years as a violinist.â¨â¨BOGAEV: And your mother was--spoke German, your grandfather was Swedish andâ¨your father was from--was a Baltic Jew. So it's really a very mixedâ¨ethnicity. Did you fit in?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: Exactly. Yeah. Recently I had to think about my father becauseâ¨seeing the movie "The Pianist," by Roman Polanski, such a strong and strikingâ¨movie which impressed me a lot as well everyone that is going to see it. Iâ¨had to think about my father because, in fact, the story, the plot of theâ¨movie, is exactly the story of my father, who escaped and survived the ghettoâ¨in Riga, where 35 relatives of his were killed, including his wife and hisâ¨little daughter.â¨â¨BOGAEV: How did he survive? People hid him? He hid in apartments, he hid inâ¨cellars?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: Yeah, he hid in cellars and in an apartment which one Latvianâ¨lady--not an apartment, but in a little back room off an apartment which aâ¨Latvian lady gave him to hide--in cellars, but he did hide for two years and Iâ¨think now I can much better understand what it meant to him.â¨â¨BOGAEV: So how early did they begin to groom you as a part of the familyâ¨violin dynasty?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: In fact, I started to play violin when I was four and a halfâ¨years old, and I'm still playing it.~â¨â¨BOGAEV: That sounds as if there must have been a lot of pressures, a lot ofâ¨dreams that your parents had had that they invested in you.â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: For sure. I even wrote in my book called "Splinters ofâ¨Childhood"--I wrote about the pressures of my encounters with my father, forâ¨whom I became his second life, because after such a tragedy that happened toâ¨him, he still had the ambition and the patience to make his son a musician.â¨â¨BOGAEV: You studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and this is in the '60s andâ¨the '70s, the post-Stalinist Soviet Union, and it was really very bleak timesâ¨economically and politically. What were your circumstances as a musicâ¨student? What was that time like for you?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: It's very difficult for me to answer it in a few words, but itâ¨was a tough time in Moscow. You had to be very careful what you play, whatâ¨you say, with whom you associate, who are your friends. And I rather earlyâ¨understood that I can't give in to all the expectations of a governmentalâ¨system, that I want to live my own life, and I want to choose myself what toâ¨do, what to play, with whom to be friends. And so pretty easy and pretty soonâ¨I got into conflicts with the state system.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Can you give me an example?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: As a result of this conflict, I didn't belong for many years toâ¨those of us who were sent as representatives of the country, asâ¨representatives of the Soviet Union abroad. Even more, I was literallyâ¨stopped from traveling for many years abroad. I was not allowed to go toâ¨foreign countries, except in the very beginning, when I succeeded to winâ¨certain competitions. But after I won my main competition and very recognizedâ¨competition, the Tchaikovsky competition 1917, after that for a number ofâ¨years I was not allowed to travel at all, except within the Soviet Unionâ¨itself.â¨â¨BOGAEV: What then did music mean for you during that time? Was it a safeâ¨place to express yourself and your individuality or the tensions that you wereâ¨suffering from, or did you always feel that music was subjected to theseâ¨political and these conformist pressures and that there was tension thereâ¨also?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: I always felt like the music was subjected to these tensions andâ¨to this pressure, but at the same time, I did fight for my own freedom, and Iâ¨still, already at that time when I was not allowed to travel, enlargedâ¨immensely my repertoire and got associated with people that I valued a lot,â¨like Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Part, Sophia Gubaidulina, Edison Denisou, allâ¨those composers who did work, live under the same pressure as all of us.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Violinist Gidon Kremer. Kremer is currently performing on a US tourâ¨with Canadian pianist Naida Cole.â¨â¨We'll continue our conversation after the break. This is FRESH AIR.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: Back with violinist Gidon Kremer. He's known as the founder ofâ¨KREMERata Baltica, a chamber orchestra made up of musicians from the Balticâ¨states. Their new CD is called "Happy Birthday."â¨â¨Throughout your career you've championed the music of Alfred Schnittke, and heâ¨was not considered acceptable in the time that you were playing him in theâ¨Soviet Union. Can you tell us about him? And what drew you to his music?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: I was lucky to be befriended with Alfred Schnittke. He was myâ¨friend for almost 30 years. Unfortunately, he passed away now already fiveâ¨years ago. One should not forget that the '70s were not the same time as theâ¨'30s or the 50s in the Soviet Union. Nobody was killed or put into a laborâ¨camp for not conforming to the regime, not writing political music, music ofâ¨socialist realism as the regime maybe wanted. But still, hindrances forâ¨performances existed, and most of the composers like Alfred Schnittke, Sophiaâ¨Gubaidulina, Edison Denisou, Valentin Silvestrov were not subject to manyâ¨performances. Their work would sound here and there on occasion.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Well, what was Schnittke's life like then in the Soviet Union? Didâ¨he earn a wage with his composing?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: Luckily, as in many countries, and I guess in the United Statesâ¨as well, the cinema helped a lot. You must know how many composers in theâ¨'30s emigrated, went to LA and worked for the film industry, so many giftedâ¨composers among them like Bernard Herrmann or Michelot Gosh(ph), just naming aâ¨couple of them. The same thing happened somehow, as well, in Russia or in theâ¨Soviet Union, composers like Denisou, Alfred Schnittke, Sophia Gubaidulinaâ¨earned their living by writing film music or occasionally music for theater,â¨but the real compositions they often had to keep in their tables.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Well, you have a polka from Alfred Schnittke on your new album,â¨"Happy Birthday," with the KREMERata Baltica orchestra. Let's listen to it.â¨â¨(Soundbite of polka number from "Happy Birthday")â¨â¨BOGAEV: A polka from Alfred Schnittke performed by my guest, Gidon Kremer,â¨and his orchestra, KREMERata Baltica, from their new CD, "Happy Birthday."â¨â¨You left the Soviet Union eventually in 1980. What kind of break was that?â¨Was that a gradual or a dramatic one for you?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: Any break, even a very soft one, was a dramatical one at thatâ¨time. In fact, I did stay abroad during one of the tours, this particularâ¨tour when I brought Alfred to the West in 1977, and I demanded at the sameâ¨time from the authorities to be a free man. I asked them to allow me for twoâ¨years to follow my commitments and concerts in the West. It was a formulaâ¨which some musicians like Slovas Dipovich(ph) used to articulate no return toâ¨the native country, but at the same time I didn't want to cut my ties with theâ¨Soviet Union and with my friends and with my audiences. And that's why Iâ¨enlarged my statement, saying, `I'd like to stay in the West, but I want toâ¨follow up also all my commitments which I have with my concert activities inâ¨the Soviet Union.' For two years, like a miracle, I was allowed to have aâ¨passport, which gave me such a privilege, a privilege among most of theâ¨musicians living in Russia at that time. But after two years, in 1980, theâ¨authorities said, `This is enough and you have to return.'â¨â¨And then I decided not to return consciously, and I had to face another kindâ¨of punishment for about eight years before the perestroika, in fact, started.â¨I was not anymore considered to be a Soviet artist, to be an artist that canâ¨perform in the Soviet Union.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Did you have visiting privileges?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: Yeah. I was allowed to visit, and I did visit my daughter, whoâ¨lived in Moscow, and my friends during this year here and there, but just as aâ¨tourist. I was never allowed to perform. Before my return in 1988, when I,â¨for the first time, played again on a stage in Moscow in St. Petersburg, atâ¨that time still Leningrad, and this was probably the first case of someoneâ¨that left the Soviet Union for good returned, like many of the Russianâ¨musicians that emigrated returned. But I was probably the only case of aâ¨Soviet musician with a Soviet passport that was not allowed to play on theâ¨Soviet stage for eight years, and then returned as a Soviet artist livingâ¨abroad.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Violinist Gidon Kremer. He's currently on a US tour. We'll hearâ¨more of our interview after this break. This is FRESH AIR.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: I'm talking with Gidon Kremer. He has a new CD of music recordedâ¨with his chamber orchestra, KREMERata Baltica. He's currently on a US tour.â¨â¨Another composer that you're known for your interpretations of is Astorâ¨Piazzolla, and his tangos you've played long before he became as popular as heâ¨is now. You've recorded--What?--six albums of his music. When did you firstâ¨hear his work?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: Falling in love with Astor Piazzolla was a very unexpected thingâ¨for me. I never thought that I would play a tango. Even I knew from my youthâ¨already what tango means.â¨â¨BOGAEV: So when you were young, you had heard tangos.â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: Of course. And I even tried at that time--probably this was theâ¨last time, and then I gave up--tried to dance some tangos. But Astorâ¨Piazzolla was introduced to me by a friend in Germany on a videotape, and itâ¨was striking to see him play, and his music was striking as well. Every timeâ¨I went to Argentina, I visited many nightclubs, tango clubs, and heard musicâ¨which was different from all the other, and this was always recognizable thatâ¨it was the handwriting, the tunes of Astor Piazzolla. And so step by step Iâ¨tried to figure out if there is something for violin and included a couple ofâ¨anchors into my repertoire.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Well, what did you love about it? It's very passionate. It's alsoâ¨very nostalgic music.â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: What is striking, that his music is as sincere, as nostalgic, asâ¨dramatic as the music by Franz Schubert. To me, they go kind of together.â¨Even Piazzolla never wrote symphonies and never wrote piano sonatas, but theâ¨tone of the statement is set on the same dramatic note. It is alwaysâ¨incredibly focused and it's always incredibly powerful. I like Piazzolla forâ¨his ability to reach our souls and to speak directly to our hearts.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Well, let's play one of your Piazzolla pieces. This is "Le Grandâ¨Tango" from your first Piazzolla album, "Omaga Piazzolla."(ph)â¨â¨(Soundbite of "Le Grand Tango")â¨â¨BOGAEV: And that's my guest, violinist Gidon Kremer playing Astor Piazzolla'sâ¨"Le Grand Tango" from his album "Omaga Piazzolla."â¨â¨I love those swooping high notes you get out of your violin in this piece andâ¨also how it moves from very passionate to a kind of tense mournfulness andâ¨then back again to a heated tango. Is that the challenge for you inâ¨navigating the emotional arc of Piazzolla's music?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: I don't think Piazzolla's about embellishment. I don't thinkâ¨Piazzolla can be expressed rightly just gliding on the surface of convenientâ¨rhythms. This music can't be, in fact, performed. It has to be lived. And Iâ¨always can distinguish if someone is flirting with Piazzolla as a convenientâ¨item of our commercial industry or someone really lives the life or theâ¨heartbeat of the music of this great composer.â¨â¨BOGAEV: So what does that mean musically, to live it?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: To live it, to allow oneself to be burnt by it. I saw a numberâ¨of artists in my life that went on stage and were burning, so to say, were notâ¨pretending to be big performers or pretending to be big virtuosos, but reallyâ¨were the expression itself. Such artists like Maria Callus or Jacques Brelâ¨left a mark in my understanding what a stage presence is, and among them I canâ¨also name an artist like Leonard Bernstein, who many described as a showman,â¨but I have collaborated with him so much that I know that whatever he did heâ¨meant seriously.â¨â¨BOGAEV: You've written three books. Your third book, "Between the Worlds,"â¨is due out soon. Your second book--you had a beautiful dedication. It wasâ¨dedicated to all those who are searching for quietness, because that's whereâ¨the most beautiful music is born. What does that mean to you, this search forâ¨quietness?â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: It means search for meditation, it means listening to your innerâ¨voice, and distracted by all the noises which nowadays surround us. We allâ¨suffer from the tendency to promote stars, from the tendency to put starsâ¨before the music, from the tendency to be easy listening or easy digesting toâ¨the bias or listeners. We all suffer from it. And I'm trying, as much as Iâ¨can, to follow my own tastes, my own projects and my own visions, but it'sâ¨constantly a fight. It's a fight against promoters, fight against labels.â¨And you find collaborators, and I'm very happy to have found a number of them,â¨but here and there it becomes quite dramatic, this fight.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Well, I'd like to end with some more music, perhaps something thatâ¨you'd suggest for us, a favorite of yours that we haven't gotten to yet.â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: It's hard for me to choose something because each recording isâ¨very dear to me. But maybe we should visit the CD of the beginning ofâ¨KREMERata Baltica, the CD of "Eight Seasons," which combines music by Vivaldiâ¨and Piazzolla.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Very good. Let's listen. And thank you so much, Gidon Kremer, forâ¨joining us today.â¨â¨Mr. KREMER: Thank you for talking to me.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: Gidon Kremer's new CD with his KREMERata Baltica orchestra is "Happyâ¨Birthday." He performs this week in Philadelphia and New York.â¨â¨(Credits)â¨â¨BOGAEV: For Terry Gross, I'm Barbara Bogaev.