Maisky & Argerich on DG

0 of 5 stars

Sonata for cello and piano in G minor, Op.65
Polonaise brillante, Op.3
Sonata in D minor for cello and piano
Sonata in A (transcribed from violin to cello)

Mischa Maisky (cello) & Martha Argerich (piano)

Reviewed by: Bob Hazeldine

Reviewed: May 2002
CD No: DG 471 346-2

These are charismatic performances recorded live in November 2000 in Kyoto, Japan of an attractive and varied recital. The expansive, charming Chopin sonata finds Maisky and Argerich making much of the first movement and investing it with much emotion. As might be expected from these artists, the rendition is volatile, the music given expressive freedom. The song-like slow movement is intimately played, and the ’Finale’ is mercurial.

Cèsar Franck’s sonata is the familiar one for violin. It becomes a more introspective work when transcribed for the cello. Maisky plays it with love and enjoys a consummate relationship with Argerich – her playing of the second movement’s opening solo is electrifying, his response ardent. The succeeding ’Recitativo-Fantasia’ brings the best from the performers and the ’Finale’ is expressively relaxed.

What may not be so convincing with repeated listening is the phrasal stretching that both artists indulge in. There is something a little mannered about the hesitations and impulses that threaten all the movements’ through-line, and especially so in the Debussy, which is disappointing in its lack of interpretative focus; it certainly does not have the poise of Decca’s Rostropovich/Britten recording.

Chopin’s Polonaise ends the recital with much bravura. The music-making throughout this CD can be celebrated for its individuality and brilliance; ultimately, however, the musicians’ idiosyncrasies make this release a special occasion, for when something out of the ordinary is required, though it’s not for regular listening – a measure of its allure if not-always-convincing singularity. The sound conspires to be close yet lacks tangibility.

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