Der Müller und der Bach (No. 19 from Die schöne Müllerin, D795)
Arcadi Volodos (piano)
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“Here is irrefutable proof of Arcadi Volodos's genius and versatility. Naturally, lovers of longcherished recordings by Schubertians of the stature of Schnabel, Kempff, Pollini and Brendel will hesitate, equating Volodos's sheen and perfection with an external glory rather than an interior poetic truth. But such witnesses for the prosecution will find themselves silenced by an empathy with Schubert's spirit so total that it would be extraordinary in a pianist of any age, let alone one still in his twenties. The jubilant burst of scales and arpeggios that launch the E major Sonata, D157, are given with a deftness and unforced eloquence that are pure Volodos, while the Andante's sighing chromaticism and surprise modulations have a tonal translucence that will make lesser mortals weep with envy. But it's in the G major Sonata, D894, that epitome of Schubertian lyricism, that Volodos erases all possible doubts. His opening has an unforgettable stillness and mystery, his velvet-tipped sonority and seamless legato a reminder that Schubert's vocal and instrumental inspiration were for the most part one and the same. For Volodos and for his listeners this is a true dance of the gods. The recordings are as flawless as the playing.”
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Thirteen years after his memorable recording of the first version of the Fauré Requiem - an intimate version first performed by the composer in 1892, at Saint-Gervais in Paris - Philippe Herreweghe here conducts the 1901 version for full orchestra commissioned by Fauré's publisher for performance in large concert halls.
Fauré said of this masterpiece: 'My Requiem was composed for nothing... for pleasure, if I may say so!'
“Philippe Herreweghe's earlier recording of the Fauré Requiem (also Harmonia Mundi) used Jean-Michel Nectoux's edition of the original 1891 'chamber' score. This is the familiar 1901 version, with its full if curious orchestration, but in other respects this is a more 'authentic' reading than the earlier one. Period instruments are used, gut strings giving the sound a gentle luminescence, and instead of an organ Fauré's permitted alternative, a large harmonium, adds a reedy quality to the wind scoring. A shade more controversially, the work is sung in 'Gallican' Latin – 'Pié Zhesü' instead of 'Pie Yesou', 'Lüx perpétüa', and so on. Together with the other period details it makes the work sound distinctly Gallic: an admirable antidote to the Anglicised or even Anglicanised Fauré presented by the archetypally English cathedral and college choirs that have so often recorded it. Both soloists are excellent, Herreweghe's tempos are a little more alert than before and the recording is splendidly ample. Alongside gut strings the big advantage of a period orchestra in Franck is the beautifully smooth sound of the horns. The overall sound is more transparent than usual, and Franck's reputation for dense over-scoring seems more than ever unjustified. It's a fine and idiomatic performance and hugely enjoyable. A fascinating coupling, strongly recommended.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010