Argerich demonstrates her quicksilver musicianship in superb recitals
The brilliance of Martha Argerich is lauded often enough in these pages, but it is a thrill to be reminded of Gidon Kremer’s trascendent artistry. For this Schumann and Bartók recital is a meeting of musical equals, with both on top form.
Fascinatingly, this set comes out at the same time as another with Argerich (but paired with Renaud Capuçon), from Lugano, that duplicates some of the same repertoire. The comparison is telling. Nothing wrong with Capuçon, but it is Kremer in Schumann’s Second Violin Sonata who reaches far beyond the virtuoso thrillRead more factor to find a sense of transformation, of something dark and frightening emerging from what once seemed merely pleasant.
Argerich alongside Kremer is challenged to be at her most keenly alert. Hearing these two build their interpretations together and apart is like watching two great Shakespearean actors, each pushing the other to greater heights.
And neither is afraid to play with tone. Argerich is expansive and sumptuous one minute, almost ghostly the next. Kremer makes the most extraordinary sounds, occasionally it seems as though acid is eating into his strings – and the composers’ souls. It will be a long time before I forget his spectral meanderings in Bartók’s First Sonata. Something of an instant classic.