MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

The Berlin Recital
CD 1
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 121 (1851) [32:52]
Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Sonata for Solo Violin SZ117 (1944) [25:08]
CD 2
Kinderszenen Op. 15 (1838) [18:35]
Violin Sonata No.1 SZ75 (1921-22) [33:33]
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
Liebesleid [4:28]
Schön Rosmarin [2:09]
Gidon Kremer (violin)
Martha Argerich (piano)
rec. Grosser Saal, Philharmonie, Berlin, 11 December 2006
EMI CLASSICS 6933992 [58:01 + 58:47]
Experience Classicsonline

For their December 2006 recital in Berlin long time colleagues Kremer and Argerich constructed an artful and apposite Schumann and Bartók programme. The fruits are heard in this two CD set, which encapsulates playing of, as one would expect, great commitment, often galvanic resources and occasional puzzlements.

They recorded Schumann’s D minor sonata for DG but this live performance is just as good, let down only by minor balance problems - Argerich sometimes overpowers Kremer. The second subject of the first movement is also just too elastic for my own taste but the conjoining of Argerich’s leonine pianism and Kremer’s astringently toned violin playing makes for a fruitful if sometimes quixotic melange. Kremer next takes centre stage for Bartók’s solo violin sonata. Forget the tonal abrasions, the very occasional adjacent string touching, as well as understandable brief intonational lapses throughout this gigantic, pole-axing work; this is nevertheless a performance of commanding virtuosity and titanic engagement. Other performances may be more tonally emollient but this has a stark, raw concentration that gives it a granitic compulsion.

The second disc opens with Kinderszenen, another performance of great force, even vehemence in places but also more personalised as well. Argerich can be relied upon not to drown in platitudes and one’s response to her playing will naturally vary. The rocking rubati of I are certainly provocative and the unexpected is seldom withheld for long, as witness her emphatic left hand accents in V or the not-quite-pummelling she dishes out to VI. Träumerei isn’t sentimentalised, X is especially expressive, XI very skittish indeed and the final two full of rich cantabile though also personalised rubati.

Which brings us to Bartók again; his 1921 Sonata, which this pair has also recorded commercially. Both musicians play this with an utter lack of generic tonal resources, instead vesting the sonata with myriad and suggestive emotive landmarks. Thus for all the pinched and nasal Kremer tone - you surely won’t listen to the discs if you reject his tonal resources ab initio - we hear the half tints, the simmering evasions and glimmering Whistlerian chiaroscuro that this sonata embodies so characteristically. It’s in the central movement however that Kremer most validates his expressive arsenal. Here the music, aided by his particular tonal qualities, achieves a lonely astringency in its opening soliloquy, a curious and touching vulnerability, the fragile thread withdrawn and never quite harmonising.

Both Bartók sonatas are the highlights of this programme. Neither Kreisler encore hits the mark; the style and tone are all wrong. No, it’s for those Bartók sonatas that this recital remains so compelling. Given the occasional imbalances and impedimenta of ancillary small problems this will be an artist rather than a composer-led purchase, but there is some truly formidable playing here.

Jonathan Woolf  


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index