Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer Performing Schumann and Bartók Live From Berlin

Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer: The Berlin Recital
Music by Schumann and Bartók
Martha Argerich (piano); Gidon Kremer (violin)
Two-CD set and downloads available May 5 from EMI Classics
“Hearing is believing…. Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich, ice and fire… . It’s a stunning match, placing a work of Bartók’s exile behind Schumann’s late struggle for sanity and the sunlit Childhood Scenes ahead of the Hungarian’s first essay for solo violin.”– Evening Standard ( UK )

EMI Classics releases a joint recital by legendary pianist Martha Argerich and one of today’s most original and compelling violinists, Gidon Kremer. The concert was recorded live at Berlin ’s Philharmonie in December 2006. The repertoire features Schumann’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in D minor and Kinderszenen, as well as Bartók’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 and Sonata for Solo Violin. The two encores that round out the release – Fritz Kreisler’s Liebesleid and Schön Rosmarin – “melt in the ears,” according to a London Times review.

“A summit of two musical giants,” is how the Abendzeitung München described the concert. “They are chamber music’s dream couple… . The way they communicate musically cannot be surpassed by any other current duo,” agreed the Münchner Merkur, while the Neue Zürcher Zeitung summed up the concert with the words: “Chamber music is alive.”

At first sight, Robert Schumann and Béla Bartók might not appear to have much in common. Schumann represented the German Romantic tradition and favored rich, full harmonies, while Bartók sought to escape from that sound world, his music tending toward “extremes of delicacy or sparseness, or of complexity or roughness, as his vision dictate[d].” Yet the two composers do have much in common: both were pianist-composers in whose output their own instrument retains a central place yet both had the ambition to reach out and embrace every musical genre; both Schumann and Bartók maintained a strong interest in music education and both promoted the status of music in the wider cultural sphere.

Though both Argerich and Kremer have had storied careers as soloists – they are also long-time friends and frequent collaborators – they also share a deep dedication to chamber music, as well as promoting talented younger artists. Where Argerich has her annual Lugano Festival of Chamber Music, Kremer has his Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra, dedicated to fostering outstanding young musicians from the three Baltic states.

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