Mon Ami, Mon Amour

Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama

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Mon Ami, Mon Amour Review

by James Manheim

The recordings of cellist Matt Haimovitz often have an experimentalist cast, but on this recital of French cello-and-piano music, gracefully accompanied by pianist Mari Kodama, he plays it straight and achieves fine results. Haimovitz puts together a strong program of music that, as he notes, takes up the question of just what is French about French music. He covers several generations of composers, from Fauré to Poulenc, but unites everything into a gentle, nostalgic mood. Nothing is really overly familiar, and along the way, there are some interesting rarities by the Boulanger sisters, Lili and Nadia, whose output continues to yield attractive works. It is often Lili who is thought the stronger of the pair as a composer, but Haimovitz's transcription of her Two Pieces for violin and piano rests a bit uncomfortably at the top of the cellist's range, but Nadia's Three Pieces for cello and piano, native to the cello, are fascinating and unlike much else from the creatively fertile period in which they originated; they have neoclassic qualities but overlay them with a restless spirit. They are admirably paired with Debussy's Cello Sonata in D minor, a work that sought to revivify the French Baroque spirit in modern terms. Haimovitz and Kodama are especially fluid in their cooperation in the Debussy, but they are sensitive to each other throughout; one might easily think them longtime duet partners, but they are not. The "Mon Ami" and "Mon Amour" are apparently Haimovitz's cello, broken in two in a studio accident, repaired, and used here on a recording for the first time. A lovely and satisfyingly coherent French recital, with excellent sound from Skywalker Studios in California.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Sonate pour violoncelle et piano, FP143
1 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 05:56 Amazon
2 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 06:24 Amazon
3 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 03:24 Amazon
4 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 06:44 Amazon
5 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 03:03 Amazon
6 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 04:19 Amazon
Deux pièces pour violon et piano
7 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 02:58 Amazon
8 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 01:41 Amazon
Trois pièces
9 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 02:37 Amazon
10 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 01:30 Amazon
11 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 02:37 Amazon
12 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 05:48 Amazon
Sonate pour violoncelle et piano en ré mineur, L. 135
13 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 04:29 Amazon
14 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 03:35 Amazon
15 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 03:47 Amazon
16 Matt Haimovitz / Mari Kodama 03:05 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick