Franck, Debussy, Schumann

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COMPOSERS: Debussy,Franck,Schumann
LABELS: Avanti
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

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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

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(Decca). Christopher Dingle