Music and Vision homepage

CD Spotlight

Liquid phrasing

Argerich plays Schumann -
reviewed by JOHN BELL YOUNG

'Ms Argerich and company pay glowing tribute to the composer's most celebrated chamber works.'

Martha Argerich - Robert Schumann (c) 2002 EMI Classics

Few composers have enriched the chamber music repertoire as significantly as Robert Schumann whose evergreen piano quintet remains every bit as popular today as it was a century ago. Nor has its appeal as a vehicle for chamber ensembles and pianists diminished, and with good reason: its generosity of material, memorable themes and touching sentiment haunt the listener long after the last notes have died away.

In 1994, pianist Martha Argerich, joined by a select group of colleagues -- all personal friends as well -- recorded these sumptuous works in an all-Schumann concert at the Concertgebouw in historic Nijmegen, Holland (not to be confused with the world renowned hall of the same name in Amsterdam). Nijmegen is an historic college town well known for its critical, strategic role in the Second World War.

In this survey of Schumann, whose spirit is amply captured on this disc, Ms Argerich and company pay glowing tribute to the composer's most celebrated chamber works. Of course, Ms Argerich has by now become something of a cult figure in classical music culture, made all the more palpable by her recent bout with and victory over cancer. Her thick mane and earth-mother persona belie that underneath it all is a spectacular virtuoso of the first rank who is not so self-centered as to set herself above a collaborative effort. Thus in the abundantly lyrical Quintet, her jewel-like sound and liquid phrasing prove ideally suited to the larger, integral task of weaving in and out, stealth like, among the soaring lines and musical precipices of the string players.

Continue >>

Copyright © 22 September 2002 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Eternally Free >>