I have to admit that when I saw the track list on this CD I almost jumped for joy. Could it be that a recording of the duet version of Mendelssohn's Overture to a Midsummer Night's Dream has finally been recorded and by none other than Martha Argerich? It's a fabulous arrangement and when played by two brilliant pianists (as it is here) it's just magic!
It's the teenage Mendelssohn who is the real hero of this compilation, his early (and glorious) Sextet in D is performed magically here with not one dull moment. It sent me scampering to explore what other preposterous masterpieces the boy composed, firstly the Octet (also brilliant but not recorded here). Both the Sextet and the Overture are music of the highest calibre, (as the CD booklet says... "He set a standard of perfection in form, translucency of texture, lucidity of character, dramatic pacing and numerous other respects which he never surpassed" - the writer obviously wasn't thinking about the marvelous Violin Concerto which I think does surpass these early works) and I could listen to them both over and over.
The Ravel is performed with great panache by two unknown pianists, obviously deeply committed musicians and the work comes alive with colour and drama. The same can be said of the Bartok Violin Sonata number 2 and the Liszt 'Reminiscences de Don Juan.' The Rachmaninov pieces are interesting and pleasant, particularly the Russian Rhapsody in e minor. The Chopin Introduction and Polonaise brillante are also scintillatingly performed and highly enjoyable! Fabulous to have some (all-too-rare) Glinka performed so well, as well.
Worth buying, just for the Mendelssohn, the rest are bonuses!