Mischa Maisky / Martha Argerich

Franck, Debussy: Cellos Sonatas; Debussy: La plus que lente; Minstrels

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First released in 1983, then re-released in 1990, this 2006 re-re-release returns to the catalog of the by-now classic performances of the cello sonatas of Franck and Debussy by cellist Mischa Maisky and pianist Martha Argerich. Of course, "classic" is perhaps the last term one should use to describe a recital by Maisky and Argerich. Maisky on his own is a big-toned cellist with a muscular technique and a passionate delivery, while Argerich by herself is a super virtuoso pianist with a fervent attack and an enormous tone. Together, they're like Romeo and Juliet or Tristan and Isolde or fire and oxygen-explosive and incandescent. Their Franck sonata has the reckless impatience and fearless intensity of new love, while their Debussy sonata has the deep wisdom and soulful warmth of old love. The encores -- Maisky's arrangements of Debussy's waltz La plus que lente and Minstrels from the Second Book of Preludes -- are flashing, funny, and, in the waltz, just a little bit sad. While many listeners may already have these recordings in one of their previous incarnations, anyone who doesn't and who loves the music or the performers is urged to check out this disc. Try just the Franck sonata's closing Allegretto poco mosso: it'll leave you exhausted but exhilarated. EMI's early digital sound is warm and lush, but just a tad too distant.

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