Saturday, 19 February 2005

A real case of serendipity was recording off-air Dvorak's Op 81 piano quintet (Verbier Festival, 2004). Distinguished line-up was Vadim Repin and Laurent Korcia, with Yuri Bashmet and Alexander Kniazev, and Evgeny Kissin on the piano. One of those memorable occasions when five top-class musicians get together and enjoy themselves playing music they obviously love. A marvellous treat of great playing and great music making. Not to be forgotten either is the "fill up": Alexander Kniazev and Kissin playing the Rachmaninov duo sonata. I had not come across Kniazev before, but he is obviously very much a player to be reckoned with. In some ways, in the 5-star line-up for the quintet, he is the primus inter pares. Some achivement.

Wednesday, 9 February 2005

Bach to Beethoven. I purchased the new 3-CD set of the Takacs Quartet and listened to the A minor quartet (Op 132). Along with some of Bach and some of the later piano sonatas, this has to be the greatest music around. Red wine, roast duck, crab and camembert are, along with a set of the late Beethoven string quartets, some of life's essential elements. The highly mercurial sound of the Takacs' playing exactly matches the mercurial and ever-changing nature of the music in these quartets. Essential music.