Violinist Gidon Kremer and pianist Martha Argerich are two of the greatest living virtuosos on their instruments and, though they are wholly individualistic players, they get along extremely well together. German Romantic Robert Schumann and Hungarian modernist Béla Bartók don't have much in common at first blush: one is dreamy and poetic, the other brutal and cerebral. But as Kremer and Argerich's recital reveals, one thing Schumann and Bartók have in common is passionate expressivity; the two players bring that quality out no matter which composer's music they're playing. Schumann's ardent lyricism and Bartók's searing lines are both equally articulated here.
The program itself is wonderfully paced by alternating between the two composers and solo and duo works. Thus, Kremer soars in Bartók's Solo Violin Sonata, Argerich shines in Schumann's Kinderszenen, and they both catch fire together in the formers First Sonata and latter's Second Sonatas. The addition of Kremer and Argerich's extremely soulful readings of Fritz Kreisler's Liebesleid and Schön Rosmarin as encores are like dessert after a heavy meal.
It should be noted that the recording here of Kinderszenen is Argerich's first solo recording in three decades. It is entirely different in conception and execution from her 1984 Deutsche Grammophon recording and demands to be heard by anyone who admires the Argentinean pianist's work.