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Brahms: Piano Quintet / Schumann: Fantasiestücke

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, 12 Mar 2013
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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Mar. 2013)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00006L3JF
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,485 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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BBC Review

Just look at the names: Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet and Mischa Maisky. How did they ever get them together for long enough to make a studio recording rather than a warts'n'all live performance? That takes some synchronisation of diaries, and even then there'll be reservations in many minds. With a quartet of such powerful musical personalities, will there be any room left for Brahms and Schumann?

It turns out we needn't have worried: this combination's been tried and tested at the Verbier Festival in the Brahms, and at Kremer's Lockenhaus Festival for the Schumann, excellent preparation for six days of intensive work in Berlin in February 2002. There's an attractive historical link that neither of the note-writers can avoid bringing to our attention: Schumann wrote his Fantasiestücke Op. 88 for his wife Clara, and it was Clara Schumann who owned Brahms's Piano Quartet No. 1, as she was the pianist for the first performance in 1861. Clara was the muse for these two works, and Martha Argerich follows in Clara's footsteps according to the accompanying essay...but in a very real sense it is Argerich who's first among equals here, her impetuous virtuosity and surging passion driving the performances.

Not that the others are overshadowed for a second, and that's the strength of this extraordinary gathering of talents; Argerich's fire, Kremer's character, Maisky's expressive freedom, Bashmet's beautiful viola sound: all are willingly offered up to the greater good, tempered and re-fashioned in Brahms that's all the better perhaps for the ensemble being subtly less than the sum of its parts. From Argerich's quizzical opening phrase to the expressive rubato in the Intermezzo, the impressive breadth of the slow movement, and the thrill of the explosive Hungarian finale this is one of those chamber music performances that resonates in the mind long after the last notes have died away.

There's a joy and warmth about the Schumann that makes detailed criticism irrelevant. Kremer and Maisky bring a fragile beauty to the lines of the Duett, caressing every phrase as though it were the loveliest thing they'd ever seen, while Argerich's support is delicate and tender, but never self-effacing.

This generous, exuberant music-making is immensely rewarding, it's very well recorded, and I hope it's not the last studio project we'll hear from this fab four; on this evidence they should clear at least a week a year to spend in each other's company for the foreseeable future.

Like This? Try These:

Schumann: String Quartets (Zehetmair Quartet)

Schubert: Piano Trio no. 2 (Florestan Trio)

Gidon Kremer: Happy Birthday --Andrew McGregor

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28 July 2016
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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1 April 2014
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Most helpful customer reviews on 4.1 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
J. 10023
5.0 out of 5 starsArgerich reigns!
4 February 2014 - Published on
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful.
Santa Fe Listener
5.0 out of 5 starsBrahms playing doesn't get any more passionate
22 May 2007 - Published on
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful.
Colin Rose
3.0 out of 5 starsHarsh digital sonics; performance is rushed
11 November 2012 - Published on
Format: Audio CD
2 people found this helpful.
Larry VanDeSande
4.0 out of 5 starsSterling Brahms but the sidekick could be better
16 June 2004 - Published on
Format: Audio CD
6 people found this helpful.
Carl Nelson
4.0 out of 5 starsWorth a listen
23 January 2004 - Published on
Format: Audio CD
26 people found this helpful.

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