seldom turned to chamber music for his means of expression.
He was far more at home either with the orchestra, in the theater
or at his own instrument, the piano. When he did turn to smaller
forces, he did so with purpose, skill and economy of means.
The four works on this recital, brilliantly and thoughtfully
played throughout, show the mind of a master who had a unique
sense of harmony, but also a most profound and original means
of creating beautiful sonorities while never losing his infamous
wit, sarcasm and playfulness.
two string quartets are tours de force. They rank with my two
very favorite works in the genre; the solo outings of Debussy
and Ravel, for their originality, their concise and taut formality
and the sheer joy they reflect of a man reveling in his own
genius. They are played to perfection, and each repeated listening
brings some new twist of creativity to the fore. The Russian
quartet are rhythmically precise without being mechanical, produce
a gorgeous tone without ever being saccharine, and manage to
find every smile and wink in these delightful works.
Overture on Hebrew Themes is a brief work that pays homage to
Klezmer music with its decidedly Jewish overtones. It is charming,
standout gem here is the quintet for a strange combination of
sonorities. The double bass lends a bit of a funny pomposity
to the piece that is precocious rather than overbearing. Prokofiev
creates a splendid little suite of miniatures that are all too
brief but packed with delightful invention. Again, this is some
of the best chamber ensemble playing that I have heard in ages.
I was immediately captivated by the skill and panache with which
these musicians perform.
Nova is a label that gets little of the fanfare that its competitor
Naxos receives on this side of the Atlantic. ’Tis a shame though
as their production values are every bit as high, their cover
art far more interesting and provocative than the generic vanilla
look of Naxos, and their notes are concise and well written.
It would be nice to see as many of these discs in American record
stores as Naxos,
as they are every bit as adventuresome in their repertoire choices,
and are deserving of a wider audience than they seem to get.
hope that the mail order services don’t disappoint when all
of you hop on-line to order your copy of this fine recording.
You really should have it, and I am not sharing mine!