“Each dance on this exciting disc is granted its rightful, rustic character. The furiants really move (Harnoncourt's readings of Op 46 Nos 1 and 8 are among the fastest on disc) and the Dumka of No 2 oscillates between tender reflection and feverish high spirits. Harnoncourt's high energy levels never preclude delicacy, or transparency or even the occasional suggestion of sentiment. Tempo relations have been thought through to the last semiquaver though in general they're more dramatic than rival Iván Fischer's (Philips). That Harnoncourt loves this music is beyond doubt, and that he understands it beyond question. He delves among Dvorák's inner voices, pulling them to the fore like a magician freeing a rabbit, while others seem happier to let the music speak for itself. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe play superbly, all swelling curves and attenuated lines, with their pooled individuality shedding fresh light on virtually every piece. If you don't know the music, Harnoncourt will make you love it. And if you do know it, he'll make you love it even more.”
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“The Takács do a fine job here: controlled, well paced and impeccably balanced. They manage to balance the music's vertical and horizontal aspects beautifully, long-breathed contrapuntal lines gliding serenely above a sharp, occasionally dramatic accompaniment – masterful playing indeed and typical of this first lap of the Takács' projected Beethoven cycle. The Takács hold both line and rhythm in Op 59 No 1 with imposing control. Their manner of badinage in the mischievously hocketing second movement is more intense than the rival account by The Lindsays, and their tempos consistently swifter. In Op 59 No 3 the Takács approximate the Busch in a broad, soulful Andante con moto. And in the fugal finale they're almost on a par with the Emersons, whose demonic DG account is one of the most viscerally exciting quartet recordings around. The finale of Op 59 No 2 is a tautly braced canter whereas in the Scherzo of the Harp, Op 74, taken at a hair-raising lick, the Takács make obsessive music of the dominating four-note idea – and there's absolutely no let up in tension for the cello-led trio. Indeed, the Takács' Harp is one of the finest ever recorded, with fiery reportage of the first movement's central development and a delightfully playful account of the finale, the 'tipsy' first variation especially. The jewel, then, is Op 59 No 2, though you'd be hard pressed to find a rival digital set of Opp 59 and 74 that's better overall. Andrew Keener's recording (St George's, Bristol) reports a realistic 'edge' within a sympathetic acoustic. You won't find a finer quartet recording anywhere.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
This is a reminder that Angela Hewitt doesn't only play—or record—the music of Bach, as she has already shown us with her disc of Messiaen, issued a couple of years ago. Here, in this 2CD set, she gives us the complete solo piano music of Ravel. (And, unlike some of the others on the market, this really is complete, containing as it does the very early, 1893, 'Sérénade grotesque', discovered comparatively recently.)
Miss Hewitt's elegant and poised playing-style familiar from her Bach recordings serves her especially well in the piano music of this fastidious French master.
'Angela Hewitt plumbs Ravel's paradoxical qualities to perfection in this superb set. This magnificent survey … a treasure trove! Angela Hewitt joins Gieseking, Rogé, Thibaudet and Lortie among the most distinguished if entirely different Ravel cycles on record, and easily withstands comparison in such exalted company' (Gramophone)