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Schumann: Cello Concerto; Chamber Music

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 13, 2001
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Schumann: Cello Concerto; Chamber Music by Mischa Maisky [Cello]

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Mischa Maisky's wide vibrato, big, full tone, exaggerated rubatos, and consistent lunge for the emotional jugular make him a controversial artist, loved by some and disliked by others. This disc will confirm both opinions, as did his earlier, intense recording of the Concerto with Bernstein. Here, he's joined by a much smaller, conductorless orchestra and there's a refreshing give-and-take between band and soloist. Although it reveals countless orchestral details, the close-up engineering spotlights the cello, undercutting the point of recording the chamber orchestra version. Maisky's playing is often breathtaking in its virtuosity. His is an interesting, if overstated, alternative view of the work. Argerich's dynamic partnership at the piano helps make the fillers exciting, too. The 5 Pieces in Folk Style are beautifully done, though some may find them excessively bloated. Ditto for the other short works on the disc. --Dan Davis
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Product Details

  • Performer: Mischa Maisky, Martha Argerich
  • Orchestra: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
  • Composer: Schumann, Robert [Composer]
  • Audio CD (March 13, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004Z4Y2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,589 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
In a series of pieces not often recorded, Maisky and Argerich showed their true greatness. Maisky is a genius, and he is material of some of the loveliest of Schumann's work. The CD is a gift to the music lover because of its quality and the fact that these are compositions not frequently recorded. The sensitive rendering of each of the chamber pieces is simply beautifully made music. Argerich shows, again, her great talent as an accompanist. Her work ties perfectly to the lithe, romantic style of Maisky. The concerto with Orpheus is Maisky in a tremendous display of his skills as a musician with flawless styles, and Orpheus backs him beautifully
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Format: Audio CD
This is yet another splendid collaboration between Argerich and Maisky which Deutsche Grammophon has done a fine job in recording. Both give lyrical, dramatic performances of these lesser known Schumann works for the cello and piano; their playing seems almost sublime, replete with much empathy and respect for each other as partners. Maisky's performance of the Schumann cello concerto with Orpheus is splendid too, though I wouldn't regard it as definitive. It lacks some of the dramatic tension I've heard in Heinrich Schiff's recording with Bernard Haitink conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. Still, fans of both Argerich and Maisky will rejoice over their latest collaboration.
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Format: Audio CD
Schumann's cello concerto of 1850 is not as well known as his earlier piano concerto, but it is every bit as beautiful. It was an innovative work at the time, with no breaks between the three movements (Schumann hated applause between movements --- the custom in his day), with seamless transitions between the exposition, development, and recap of the first movement, and an orchestrally accompanied cadenza for the cello at the end of the finale. The concerto was rehearsed but not performed publicly during Schumann's lifetime; the first performance was in 1860, four years after Schumann's death.

The Latvian cellist Mischa Maisky, accompanied by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, gives a vigorous, robust performance of this concerto that still leaves room for a more lyrical touch in the short but sweet second movement. The chamber orchestra keeps up well with Maisky's dynamism. In sum, this is a dramatic performance that also has more lyrical moments. I'm not very familiar with other performances of this work, but I rate this one highly.

Maisky teams up with pianist Martha Argerich to perform the rest of the selections on this CD, most of which were composed by Schumann in a flurry of activity in 1850-51. These shorter pieces were originally intended for other solo instruments than the cello. The Adagio and Allegro was written for horn and piano, though Schumann later allowed that a string instrument could be substituted for the horn. The Three Fantasiestucke were composed for clarinet and piano, but a string instrument was an alternative. The Five Stucke im Volkston were originally written for violin, but Schumann rearranged them for cello before they were published.
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Format: Audio CD
This is very fine, and worth acquiring. Let me give you a bargain-hunting tip: This CD and a slew of others, including the fabulous Argerich and Maisky "Live in Japan," are collected in "The Complete Duo Recordings" here on Amazon for $30-$40 (ASIN: B006KA34UC) It's a real box of treasures.
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