ALBUM TITLE: Franck, Debussy, Schumann
WORKS: Violin Sonata
PERFORMER: Dora Schwarzberg (violni), Martha Argerich (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 5414706
When it comes to the cause of César
Franck’s Violin Sonata, Martha
Argerich has certainly done her bit.
She has recorded it numerous times,
including in the cello version and a
transcription for flute. Since it is far
from being the rarest work in the catalogue, even Argerich devotees
might be tempted to wonder in
their more heretical moments
what this new account adds to the
discography. The answer is twofold.
Firstly the hybrid SACD is the
best-recorded version, even on a
conventional CD player, with finely
nuanced colours and natural sound.
Secondly, Argerich has a new partner
for the work in Dora Schwarzberg.
This is, of course, a topsy-turvy
perspective, being decidedly unfair
to Schwarzberg’s wide range of tone
and emotion, but there is such a
similarity of intent in the various
versions involving Argerich that
her personality clearly drives each
reading. That said, Schwarzberg is
evidently in harmony with Argerich,
with each seemingly daring the
other to greater extremes of tempo.
Within the luxuriantly slow tempo,
the first movement is a masterpiece of
pacing, while the second has plenty
of passionate fire. The Debussy
is similarly built from extremes,
and the periodic upward surges of
the Schumann seem to erupt from
nowhere. Like Anne-Sophie Mutter’s
account (DG), it is totally enthralling.
Then, on returning to earth, Kyung
Wha Chung’s less indulgent but no
less delightful approach beckons
(Decca). Christopher Dingle