Notes and Editorial Reviews
b>A stimulating recital – well thought through‚ intelligently played and beautifully recorded
An original yet satisfying programme – the Alkan sonata‚ with its Romantically extravagant virtuosity and clear Classical outlines‚ sandwiched between two groups of melancholic‚ elliptical late Liszt pieces. And the playing‚ as well as the programme planning‚ shows imagination and thoughtfulness. One result of the extreme sensitivity of modern recording technology is that musicians with fine technical control can play in an intimate‚ unemphatic way‚ confident that their most subtle expressive touches will ‘tell’. Emmanuelle Bertrand‚ who has made her name as an interpreter of contemporary music‚ brings a daring approach to the 19th century repertory‚ choosing at times‚ for instance‚ to play extremely quietly or without vibrato. Her perceptive musicianship is matched by Amoyal; the elusive final bars of the Second Elegy‚ for example‚ create a magically tender and delicate mood. The deep sadness of La lugubre gondola is perfectly captured‚ along with its uncomfortable‚ sinister quality‚ and the preimpressionist Adagio of the Alkan creates a powerful effect‚ too‚ with shadowy low cello matched with crystalline piano figuration. At the other end of the expressive scale‚ the outer movements of the Alkan draw from Amoyal some stunning virtuosity‚ based on precise‚ high speed finger work. Bertrand’s tone is able to balance the most explosive piano passages with no sense of strain‚ and in the Finale alla saltarella the spot on ensemble playing is extremely exciting. In short‚ this is a winner!
-- Gramophone [2/2002]
Reviewing original release of this recording