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Heartbreaking … a maelstrom of punchy emotions

L’Echo, St. R.

Romantic imagery says that the idea of ​​his imminent death, at the age of 31, would have instilled in Schubert the genius of despair. His last works, including the quintet D956 and the Lieder cycle “Schwanengesang” put together here, reached the absolute highest heights. Swan song? No, replies Jacques Drillon, in a very nicely-written booklet. Firstly, because “Schwanengesang” is a posthumous assemblage. Secondly because Schubert didn’t know the date of his death, and if he did tie together these masterpieces, dares Drillon, it’s because his vital energy was intact. It’s difficult to prove him wrong with regard to the quintet, the gravity reinforced by a second cello.

Led by violinist Christian Tetzlaff, this interpretation is one of the harshest and most heartbreaking ever etched on disc, dragging us into a maelstrom of punchy emotions.

The 3rd movement could be called an anthology, with its overwhelming and aptly-named sostenuto.

What a group of interpreters!

I have the same enthusiasm for the other CD where, in the so-subtle genre of Lieder, Julian Prégardien (tenor) and Martin Helmchen (piano) come together with uncommon elegance, the best of all their predecessors.

Loosely translated from French.

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The core repertoire for viola and piano is not extensive. Part of it are these three works, which violist Rachel Roberts and pianist Lars Vogt put together in a complex programme. Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata seems to flow lightly, but is actually most profound music. Who else than the then only 27-year old composer could have so elegantly and skillfully translated life’s tragedies into music? Britten’s series of variations Lachrymae is a labyrinth of interwoven feelings with a sombre touch, posing the listener many a riddle. One senses the existential nature of Shostakovich’s last composition, too, the viola sonata op. 147, which was written by the dying composer in his last two months.

Rachel Roberts plays these masterworks with a light, breathing sound, which is never forced or pushed excessively. A simplicity prevails, never showing off or trying too much. Rather than mere size and volume, Roberts focuses on the variability of colours and subtle dynamic nuances.

It’s very convincing how Lars Vogt’s versatility helps shape this line. If the score demands it, he is able to grow to a real lion on the piano, and in the next moment retreat into the world of the quietest sounds. He has proven it many times as a chamber musician, especially at his own festival “Spannungen” in Heimbach, of which there are many live-recordings on the CAvi-label.

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The authenticity of the febrile and rich sound they created, together with their intensity of emotion, made this most memorable

The Guardian, Rian Evans

“Beethoven: Music in Revolution was the ambitious title given to this five-day festival, curated and performed by the Gould Piano Trio and friends. It offered an absorbing historical perspective on a composer who subverted rules, pushed boundaries and used shock tactics, as well as capturing his rigour and passion.”

“Violinist Gould and Frith combined fire and expressive power in Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, and its pairing with Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata string quartet, based on Tolstoy’s short story of the same name, was inspired. David Adams, Gould, Rachel Roberts and Alice Neary may not formally be a quartet, but the authenticity of the febrile and rich sound they created, together with their intensity of emotion, made this most memorable.”

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13/08/2022