I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Gergiev versus Gergiev

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Op. 71 – Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
Valery Gergiev, Orchestra and Choir of the Mariinsky Theatre
Mariinsky MAR0593, 2 SACD (Includes multi-channel 5.0 and stereo mixes), 129 min.

Valery Gergiev frequently returns to music he recorded earlier. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but curiously I still haven’t heard a refill of his that actually betters the older attempt. And this isn’t happening either in this new release on the Mariinsky label, coupling his 2015 re-recording of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and Fourth Symphony.

Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker and Symphony No. 4

Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker and Symphony No. 4

Gergiev and his Mariinsky Theatre forces gave us a magnificent Nutcracker back in 1998. After the marketing hype for being “the first complete Nutcracker on a single CD” had settled, this not only turned out to be a tremendously exciting high-voltage traversal, a riot of color, but also a visionary piece of fantasy-theatre with a dark undercurrent that dumped most other recordings of the ballet in the candy store kids department. Most of all, it had a clarity of purpose and the sparkle of discovery.

Fast-forward to 2016 and here is Gergiev again with the same orchestra. Gone is the sparkle of discovery and so is the vision that electrified the older recording. It’s not exactly a bad Nutcracker (actually it’s pretty good one when compared to other recent attempts by Rattle, Järvi and Pletnev), but it’s simply not as compelling or revelatory as the previous one. That Gergiev is marginally less fast (84 against 81 min), is not the main issue (although the Chinese Dance is now bizarrely heavy-footed and the Andante maestoso of the Pas de deux suffers from several drops of tension – for example from 2 min. 20). More important is that this Nutcracker has lost its edge and momentum. Gergiev still reveals a detailed, often dark palette of color and it’s always a delight to hear the superb Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in their repertoire, but the fact remains that overall this is a less focused, much cozier, play safe reading, taking its place among the many. It suffices to listen to the long dramatic passage starting with the Departure of the Guests through the Waltz of the Snowflakes. The Battle is now a whole lot less eventful and fierce, and Gergiev’s pacing in the ensuing Pine forest and the Waltz no longer grabs you by the hand (or the throat) as he did so brilliantly in his older disc. The Mariinsky recording is warm and detailed, emphasizing the lower brass to good effect, although the timpani could ideally have been balanced more forwardly.

What prevents me from giving this release a wholehearted recommendation however is the recording of the Fourth Symphony. Tchaikovsky’s Fourth has to my ears always been the least successful of the six in Gergiev’s hands and this recent take seems to have gone even further south. The flaws and mannerisms of the earlier live recording filmed in Paris in 2011 (available on DVD and Blu-ray), or noted in the concerts I attended that year, are now a major letdown. Gergiev seems bent on underplaying the anguish of this symphony with an ultra-refined treatment and extra careful tempi. Yet the result is a first movement that sounds hesitant, almost timid, with climaxes that make no impact whatsoever. Gergiev’s tempo fluctuations are often gratuitous, and nowhere more so than in the development section just before the return of the fate theme. Worse, the Andantino is no longer in modo di canzona but resembles a sluggish religious procession which turns in circles. The Scherzo makes a better impression, while the Finale kicks off with plenty of drive and brilliant orchestral playing, only to return to dragging mode when the main theme is heard in the strings only (at 3 min. 45). Again, there is so much to admire in the playing of the Mariinsky Orchestra (what beautiful woodwinds), but it all feels like a huge waste.

For the Fourth Symphony the old (now historic) favorites Mravinsky, Svetlanov, Fricsay, Karajan, and others still hold their ground, while for the full-length Nutcracker one can safely stick with Dorati, Jansons, Rozhdestvensky, and… Gergiev 1998.

Copyright © 2016, Marc Haegeman


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Transcendental Liszt in double

Franz Liszt: Etudes d’exécution transcendante, S.139
Kirill Gerstein, piano
Myrios MYR019, SACD hybrid (64 min)

“Transcendental”
Franz Liszt: Etudes d’exécution transcendante, S.139; Two Concert Etudes, S.145; Three Concert Etudes, S.144; Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S.141

Daniil Trifonov, piano
Deutsche Grammophon 0289 479 5529 0 – 2 CD (66:04 & 51:24 min)

Franz Liszt most likely had his bit of fun when he published his Etudes d’exécution transcendante. Although his final edition from 1852 may be more accessible than its earlier incarnation, as is well known even these aren’t studies for the beginner or the advanced amateur, but fiendishly difficult pieces (Daniil Trifonov describes them as “technically challenging poems” or “existential meditations”) for virtuoso pianists at the top of their game, and then some. Performing all 12 Etudes live in concert has long remained a rare feat, still both pianists considered here have successfully accomplished this several times. It wasn’t so long ago that the Etudes were the exclusive domain of mature Liszt specialists who tackled them on disc as the crowning achievement in this repertoire. Yet, Kirill Gerstein is 36, Daniil Trifonov is barely 25, and these are their first Liszt-only discs. Times are changing.

These new discs recorded in the studio are superb achievements by any means and can be recommended wholeheartedly. Both Russian pianists share an irresistible joy of performing. They traverse the Etudes with seemingly effortless ease and find a convincing balance between jaw-dropping virtuosity and inspired musicality, drawing attention to the lasting value of Liszt’s oeuvre as the invention of the modern piano. Needless to say, there are differences too. Moreover, Trifonov’s generous “Transcendental” set for DG also gives us the 5 Concert Etudes and the Grandes Etudes de Paganini on a second disc.

Transcendental etudes

Gerstein performs Liszt

Kirill Gerstein is an intelligent, inquisitive musician. (He recently also set the record straight regarding the score of Tchaikovsky’s famous First Piano Concerto.) Gerstein clearly sees the Etudes as a coherent cycle to be played as a complete set, starting with the virtuosic try-out of the keyboard in the Preludio and culminating in the truly transcendental, modernist sonorities created in Chasse-Neige. Gerstein’s structural grip is obvious when considering the pieces individually, especially the more elaborate ones like Mazeppa, Ricordanza (in a terrific rendering), Harmonies du soir and Chasse-Neige, but is even more impressive when the cycle is heard in its entirety. As he explains in the informative interview published in the booklet of this Myrios release, it helps coming to grips with the Etudes by thinking of them as a collection of pairs, not just tonally but also by character. This approach sheds new light on the cycle, creating extra dramatic contrast.

Transcendental

Transcendental by Daniil Trifonov

While Daniil Trifonov also performs the complete Etudes d’exécution transcendante in concert, in this recording I was less struck by the coherence of the cycle than in Gerstein’s hands. Arguably most listeners won’t be bothered by this, because Trifonov’s pianism is such a stunner (he is more controlled and above all more accurate in the studio than live, and is also slightly better served by the engineers than Gerstein). His remains a tremendously exciting journey, always articulate and brilliantly colorful, but by his seemingly impromptu approach the individual character of the pieces tends to dominate the bigger architecture. Trifonov can be very theatrical, allying telling silences with fierce attacks or dazzling fusées, but I missed some of the gravitas that Gerstein sensitively conveys in the more melancholic passages. However, where Trifonov remains unequalled is by the lightness and transparency of his textures, weaving these ultra-delicate but flexible tapestries of sound in notably Paysage and Feux follets, as well as in the lyrical Concert Etudes La Leggierezza and Il Sospiro, and the impressionistic Waldesrauschen and Gnomenreigen. He also makes a very strong case for the underrated Paganini Etudes, including a very refined rendition of La Campanella, a marvelously handled Arpeggio and an eloquent La Chasse.

In short, these are utterly rewarding releases, new frontrunners in this repertoire that deserve a place in every serious Liszt or piano collection.

Copyright © 2016, Marc Haegeman


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Hilary Hahn’s Mozart and Vieuxtemps

Wolfgang Mozart: Violin Concerto #5 in A Major, K. 219
Henri Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto #4 in D minor, Op. 31

Hillary Hahn, violin
German Chamber Philharmonic, Bremen/Paavo Järvi
Deutsche Grammophon 4793956

Hilary Hahn plays Mozart and Vieuxtemps

Hilary Hahn plays Mozart and Vieuxtemps

Hilary Hahn never hesitated to bring unusual couplings in her discs. For her most recent Deutsche Grammophon release, combining Mozart’s Fifth Violin Concerto with Vieuxtemps’ Fourth, there is however a simple explanation. As she writes in the liner notes, she became acquainted with both concertos at a significant moment in her career. The Vieuxtemps was the last major piece she studied with Klara Berkovich, who had been her teacher for five years. The Mozart was the first she learned with Jascha Brodsky who had just become her professor for 7 years at the Curtis Institute for Music. Brodsky himself had been taught by Eugène Isaÿe, star-pupil of Vieuxtemps. She was 10 and ever since these works have been pillars of Hahn’s active repertory.

Perhaps it was this lifelong respect for the scores which kept her from giving their full due on disc. I heard Hahn perform the Vieuxtemps Forth in concert with the Berlin Philharmonic last year and if memory serves well it was a much more exciting performance than the one recorded here in the studio with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (dating from August 2013). At least in the concert we didn’t have to wait until the final movement before imagination and expressive freedom join the trademark tonal beauty and technical mastery to kick the piece really alive. The preceding Scherzo with its leaden pace is underwhelming.

Paavo Järvi’s accompaniment is detailed but as often with him distant and bland. The Bremen ensemble sounds thin and cannot muster the necessary drama nor these dark tones which the music needs. It suffices to compare with Itzhak Perlman’s recording with the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Barenboim. But then again they opted for a full-blooded romantic approach, while in Hahn’s case it never becomes clear which way they wanted to go.

The Vieuxtemps Fourth Concerto isn’t recorded much and as Hahn reminds us performing it is for most ensembles a discovery. It could have been a (re)discovery for us as well, but I for one rather stick with the old Perlman and Heifetz recordings.

The Mozart Concerto isn’t a big revelation either. The playing is vivid and attacks are firm (Allegro aperto), yet for somebody this long familiar with the work, in spite of the formal beauty, Hahn stays curiously outside of the music (Adagio). I don’t feel a real common sense of purpose between soloist and conductor. The Joachim cadenza in the first movement is performed with a romantic emphasis which doesn’t connect with the surrounding accompaniment. In the end you end up damning this whole period performance movement and the fallout it had on traditional orchestras. In the old days they might have over-romanticized classics like this, but at least everybody was on the same track.

Copyright © 2015 Marc Haegeman
First published on Classical Net (http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/d/dgg793956b.php)


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Netrebko’s Iolanta

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Iolanta
Anna Netrebko – Iolanta
Sergey Skorokhodov – Count Vaudémont
Alexey Markov – Robert, Duke of Burgundy
Vitalij Kowaljow – King René
Lucas Meacham – Ibn-Hakia
Monika Bohinec – Martha
Slovenian Chamber Choir
Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra/Emmanuel Villaume
Recorded Live November 2012
Deutsche Grammophon 4793969 2CDs 68:25+24:41 DDD

Anna Netrebko sings Tchaikovsky's Iolanta

Anna Netrebko sings Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta

On 18 December 1892 the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg premiered a Tchaikovsky double-bill consisting of the one-act opera Iolanta and the ballet The Nutcracker. While the ballet became one of the composer’s most popular works worldwide, Iolanta (or more exactly Yolanda) never gained firm ground outside of Russia. And yet, when you hear an inspired performance of this unconventional opera, like this new live recording with Anna Netrebko in the title role, you realize there is still plenty of light to be gained from obscurity. The Russians, and Netrebko in particular, who is the driving force behind this Iolanta, have known all along that Tchaikovsky’s final opera is a unique gem that craves to be better known. There are some memorable old recordings, including Mstislav Rostropovich with Galina Vishnevskaya and Valery Gergiev with the Kirov and Galina Gorchakova, yet this new one goes right to the top.

This is foremost a magnificent tour de force from Anna Netrebko, shedding off her star status and going for the essence. She deserves all praise for her utterly complete identification with the title role – something which is neither obvious nor easy. Yet the character clearly triggers a special emotional response from Netrebko and every nuance is rendered with disarming sincerity and love. “The music is a source of joy”, as she points out, and we can gladly add so is her singing. This is happy Tchaikovsky for once – although less than a year after the premiere the composer would be dead. But it’s also profound and poetic Tchaikovsky and the simple story of a blind medieval princess regaining her sight through love is musically sublimated by a continuous (and really uplifting) quest from darkness to light.

The remainder of the international cast, as well as the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra under the French conductor Emmanuel Villaume, may be totally unknown, but nothing is missing. Sergey Skorokhodov as the knight Vaudémont who falls in love with Iolanta and Alexey Markov as Robert the duke of Burgundy, are excellent singers from the Mariinsky troupe, and there is a remarkable performance by the American baritone Lucas Meacham as Ibn-Hakia, the Moorish physician summoned to cure the princess. Emmanuel Villaume revives this gorgeous score with finesse and detail.

Warmly recommended.

As a closing note, the Paris Opera schedules a staging of the Iolanta/Nutcracker double bill in March 2016, in a new production supervised by Dmitry Tcherniakov. Sonya Yoncheva is cast as Iolanta.

Copyright © 2015, Marc Haegeman

First published on Classical Net: http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/d/dgg793969a.php


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Monumental Schubert from Harnoncourt and the Berliner

Franz Schubert:
Symphony #1 in D Major, D 82
Symphony #2 in B Flat Major, D 125
Symphony #3 in D Major, D 200
Symphony #4 in C minor “Tragic”, D 417
Symphony #5 in B Flat Major, D 485
Symphony #6 in C Major, D 589
Symphony #7 in B minor “Unfinished”, D 759
Symphony #8 in C Major “Great”, D 944
Mass #5 in A Flat Major, D 678 *

Luba Orgonášová, soprano
Birgit Remmert, contralto
Kurt Streit, tenor
Christian Gerhaher, bass
Mass #6 in E Flat Major, D 950 *
Dorothea Röschmann, soprano
Bernarda Fink, contralto
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
Christian Elsner, tenor
Christian Gerhaher, bass
Alfonso und Estrella, D 732 (Opera in 3 Acts) *
Dorothea Röschmann (Estrella)
Kurt Streit (Alfonso)
Christian Gerhaher (Froila)
Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Mauregato)
Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Adolfo)

* Rundfunkchor Berlin
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Bonus video – Nikolaus Harnoncourt in conversation
Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings BPHR150061 8CD+Blu-ray [Full HD 16:9, Region Code: ABC (worldwide)]

Franz Schubert from Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings

Franz Schubert from Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings

To mark Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s 85th birthday, as much as the successful cooperation between the Austrian conductor and the Berlin Philharmonic during some 25 years, Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings (BPHR), the orchestra’s own label, releases a monumental Schubert box-set, including all the symphonies, two late Masses and the virtually unknown opera Alfonso und Estrella. Recorded in concerts at the Berliner Philharmonie between 2003 and 2006 and spread over eight CDs and one Blu-ray disc, this deluxe edition arrives in a lavish box, designed like last year’s Schumann/Rattle cycle from BPHR as a beautiful but hard-to-store landscape-sized book. (The discs are available separately as well for download on Qobuz in Studio Master quality and on iTunes and Amazon in low-res AAC and MP3.)

The Blu-ray disc contains all the music in PCM 2.0 Stereo 24-bit/48kHz as well as in 5.0 DTS-HD Master Audio (24-bit/48kHz), plus a 38-minute interview with the conductor (from 2014) about his passion for Schubert and his work with the Berliner. The box also offers a code for free download of the high resolution audio files of the whole edition and a seven-day ticket for the Digital Concert Hall, the Berliner’s video streaming venue. A 104-page book (in German and English) guides the listener through the music with articles, commentary from Harnoncourt, and the libretto of the opera and the masses texts.

The trouble, so to speak, for this new Schubert edition is that Nikolaus Harnoncourt already left us an outstanding, hard-to-beat Schubert Symphonies cycle with the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam back in 1992 (on Warner/Teldec, now available as a bargain box-set of four CDs). Needless to say, Harnoncourt’s insightful style, the incisive combination of timbres and vibrant textural analysis of the music, and above all his understanding of Schubert’s particular Viennese lyricism, remain in a class of their own. Harnoncourt sees the confrontation of the dancelike vitality with the sense of grief and ever-present nearness of death, a reflection of the so-called Viennese ‘joie de vivre’ at the edge of the grave, as the principal expressive level in Schubert’s music. The extraordinary array of dynamic inflections, harmonic shifts and energized rhythms he reveals prove hugely original and place even the earliest symphonies, often disparaged when seen from the perspective of the famous two last ones, on a higher level. Moreover, the Berliners have throughout the years just as successfully as their colleagues from the Concertgebouw adapted to Harnoncourt’s approach, especially in a time when historical performance practice was anything but taken for granted by a conventional formation.

Still, there is no denying that Harnoncourt is overall less consistent and persuasive in the new Berlin set. The message of sadness is hammered home a bit too emphatically. Take the lovely Andante of the First Symphony which in Amsterdam delicately changed its prevalent poetic mood by alternating major and minor tonalities, becomes in Berlin a pretty anguished piece from start to finish. The sound has somewhat thickened too (although the recording and venue might be partly to blame) and above all the natural flow which was quite miraculously handled in the older recordings is now more often sacrificed to mannered phrasing and tempo shifts (the Scherzo of the “Great” C Major is a prime example). In some cases the balances between movements as well as inside the movements themselves were better judged in the Amsterdam traversal. There are first-rate renditions of the Fourth and Sixth symphonies, but Harnoncourt’s tempi frequently slowed down – as for example in the Menuetti of the Second and Fifth symphonies, sounding weightier in their Allegro sections and blurring the contrast with the respective Trios. More worrying is however the ultra-slow “Unfinished” (the Allegro moderato runs 2:20 min longer than in Amsterdam) and while Harnoncourt knows better than anybody how to defend his approach, the ponderous and massive pre-Brucknerian quality he suggests here won’t be to everybody’s taste. The two first movements of the C Major (called here the Eighth as Harnoncourt uses the New Schubert Edition) no longer flow as easily either with over-emphasized accents and moments of indulgence – and truth be told the Berlin woodwinds and brass are simply outgunned here by their Dutch colleagues in sheer character. Climaxes are more theatrical but less subtle (as in the Allegro ma non troppo of the opening movement). The Finale is excitingly driven, but all in all the older Concertgebouw “Great” C Major remains preferable.

The two last Masses are definitely worth having and performed here with tremendous dramatic fervor and a genuine sense of awe. These are extraordinary works, most likely composed out of impulse, according to the conductor even as efforts to come to terms with death – once you heard the dark-colored sonorities of the Kyrie of the E-flat Major, you’ll understand what he means. Harnoncourt’s transposition of period manners into a traditional environment worked tremendously well here and succeeds in bringing out the originality of much of the writing, combining incisive choral singing, superb orchestral parts – and some remarkable solo singing from Dorothea Röschmann, Jonas Kaufmann and Christian Elsner in the et incarnatus est and the Benedictus of the 6th Mass.

Equally rewarding is Schubert’s 1822 opera Alfonso und Estrella, which never found a place in the repertory (and was actually premiered by Franz Liszt in 1854 as an “act of reverence”). Unconventionally written, a reaction against the standard Italian opera pattern which ruled Vienna at the time, Alfonso und Estrella may be hard to stage in the theatre but on disc it’s foremost a small treasure trove of melodic invention, while Harnoncourt makes the utmost of the orchestration. It’s well sung, too, although Jonas Kaufmann would have been preferable to Kurt Streit in the role of Alfonso.

The Berlin Philharmonic offers playing of warmth and virtuosity yet is not particularly well served by the recording, which lack presence, bite and naturalness of timbre. In this respect, too, the older Teldec box remains unsurpassed.

Bottom line is that no real Schubert enthusiast will probably want to be without this box, even if it is something of a mixed blessing when it comes to the Symphonies. Those in possession of the older Concertgebouw set needn’t put that one too far away. Remakes of complete symphonies cycles are apparently much like movie remakes; they are only very rarely better than the original attempt.

Copyright © 2015, Marc Haegeman

First published on Classical Net: http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/b/bpr50061a.php


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The Nutcracker in Bergen

The Nutcracker, Op. 71
Bergen Pikekor
Bergen Guttekor
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
Chandos SACD CHSA5144 84:35 Multichannel Hybrid

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Someone in the Chandos art department seems to have a fixation on sleeping women. With the release of The Nutcracker Neeme Järvi and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra completed their Tchaikovsky ballet trilogy and, curiously, each of the CD’s in this series features a reclined lady on the cover. Fair enough in the case of The Sleeping Beauty, but that floating ballerina corpse for Swan Lake was bizarre and now again we get a sleeping girl with a nutcracker doll in her arms. If this is their idea of an art form which is all about movement and energy, then somebody needs to hand these guys at Chandos a few tickets to attend a ballet performance once. In any case, these Tchaikovsky recordings have been rather peculiar in general, thinking of the oddities in the scores that were used, like these anomalous harp cadenzas in both Swan Lake and Beauty, but above all because of a maestro who seemed determined to disprove that old myth that ageing conductors have a tendency to slow down and become sentimental. Not so 77-year-old Neeme Järvi.

The Nutcracker has been done on a single CD before. With 84:35 Järvi isn’t even the fastest in the world, but as we all know it’s not merely about tempo choices, rather about what you do with them and how you balance them in the light of the score’s intent. With such brisk speeds the Overture and the opening numbers of the ballet can still pass on disc, even if the first grins might appear and some listeners will be thinking that this Christmas party isn’t one they would send their kids to. Still, the Bergen Philharmonic miraculously continues to ensure magnificent color and detail. Where Järvi lets us down, however, is in the bigger numbers, when the music suddenly becomes “serious”, starting with Act I, Scene 6 (track 7 of the CD – usually called the Departure of the guests), the ensuing Battle with the mice (track 8) and the grand transformation of the room into the winter pine forest (or when the nutcracker doll turns into a dashing prince – track 9). Here his hasty conducting smothers every sense of feeling (forget poetry and magic), and unsentimental turns into uncaring. At this point Järvi also throws in this disc’s oddity by adding a rather hilarious bim bam clock chiming ten at the beginning of the Departure of the guests, only to be followed three minutes later by the clock striking midnight. This may work on stage, but Tchaikovsky did leave that ten o’clock out of the score for a good reason. The scene of the growing Christmas tree is a speed contest, the battle is running after its own tail and the crucial transformation misses theatrical impact. It suffices to relisten to Evgeny Mravinsky and the old Leningrad Philharmonic to understand what can be found behind the notes – and he wasn’t exactly a sentimental slob either.

Järvi’s own transformation seems to take place with Act II, at least for a moment. In the opening scenes he finds warmth, orchestral splendor and an agreeable flow. The Divertissement is mostly well handled, too, again with remarkable playing, particularly from woodwinds and harp. Yet the Waltz of the Flowers is disappointing by its lack of dynamic contrast, its brisk tempo and quickly tiresome rubato. The Andante maestoso is coolly dispatched and only of passing interest compared to those who hadn’t forgotten its connection with the theatre.

An admirably responsive and often brilliant Bergen Philharmonic, superb SACD sonics and instructive liner notes from David Nice can’t conceal this Nutcracker is a pretty uneven affair, as is the whole Tchaikovsky ballet series from Bergen and Järvi. And still some continue to pretend that ballet music is easy to play.

Copyright © 2015, Marc Haegeman
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Gallic finesse and Georgian fire

César Franck: Sonata for Violin & Piano in A Major
Edvard Grieg: Sonata for Violin & Piano #3 in C minor, Op. 45
Antonín Dvořák: Four Romantic Pieces, Op. 75b

Renaud Capuçon, violin
Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
Erato 08256-462501 DDD 66:20

Renaud Capuçon and Khatia Buniatishvili

Renaud Capuçon and Khatia Buniatishvili play romantic chamber music

French violinist Renaud Capuçon and Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili have been frequent partners in chamber music concerts. Their complementing temperaments – Gallic finesse and Georgian fire – have proven an exhilarating blend, while the charisma and winning stage presence of these brilliantly talented young artists evidently add to the fascination. In their debut disc as a duo for the resurrected Erato label they team up for an attractive program containing three romantic chamber music pieces of various origin, remarkably all written within the same time span 1886-1887.
Read the full review on Classical Net