Brian Forst | Reston, VA United States | 06/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"New Yorker music critic Alex Ross sold me on this CD in his essay, "The Magic Mountain: Surviving the CD Avalanche." Ross, not one given to promoting CDs, wrote that he plays this 2-disk set over and over again and can't explain why he became so addicted to it. At the risk of taking some of the wonder out of "wonderful," let me offer two reasons: 1. Maurice Ravel and 2. the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson trio. Ravel is the quintessential French impressionist creator of exquisitely orchestrated music that shimmers with color and texture, and the trio of Joseph Kalichstein, Jaime Laredo, and Sharon Robinson is masterful in bringing out the rich hues of these chamber pieces with fluid movement and ravishing touches that help to make the trio and most of the other pieces so enchanting. Disc 1 takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride through Ravel's trio and violin-cello sonata, then sets you down gently with 15 minutes of pure sweet sorrow in two pavannes and the kaddish. The K-L-R ensemble takes you deep inside Ravel's Trio with an intimacy that is rarely captured in a recording. Disc 2 adds six small yet lovely pieces, mostly for cello and piano, bookended by two violin sonatas. The superb recording quality and balance and the extraordinary technique of the artists all contribute to the vibrancy and immediacy of the work. Ross is not alone in his addiction to these mesmerizing -- truly wonderful -- performances."
A FINE SET OF DISCS
MOVIE MAVEN | New York, NY USA | 07/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read a rave review for this 2 disc set in "The New Yorker" magazine and immediately purchased it online. Ravel is one of my two or three favorite composers and this set is filled with gorgeous music-making. Perhaps the producers were a bit stingy since they certainly could have squeezed one more selection on each disc & I don't quite understand the use of an out-of-focus photograph of a nude on a bed as cover art, but the choice of repertoire and the execution throughout is wonderful.This is a fine set to own whether you are just coming to Ravel for the first time or if you have, as I do, dozens of recordings of his music."
Alan Lekan | Boulder, CO | 12/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While Bach's music grounds me, Mozart's elates me, Beethoven's amazes me, Brahams' warms me, Faure's intrigues me ... Ravel's music completely fascinates and mezmerizes me. Ravel's music - with one foot in classicism and one in modernism and perhaps another in the Romantic era - is bewitchingly beautiful, intellectually compelling and compositionally perfected - truly a musician's music.
These superb musicians bring out the best in Ravel's curiously evocative and well-crafted music. Jamie Laredo's equisite shaping of harmonies and soaring vibrato on violin takes centre stage to exude the mysterious beauty within this music. His tone and line is gorgeous and intense. Along with strong contributions from Sharon Robinson on cello and Joseph Kalichstein's masterful pianism - and an absolutely brilliant recorded sound - all things come together to produce a superior recording worth seeking out, especially since there are some wonderful and rare gems (several transcriptions especially).
The famous A-minor Trio is entirely satisfying in the subtle prowness of the Passacaille to the rhythmic passion of the second movement. The Sonatas for Violin and Piano and for Cello and Piano are also superbly performed. This disc has become a top personal favorite to listen to late at night where it can transport to another dimension. The sound quality leaps off the disc into your room. Its too bad this disc is no longer in print, its pretty amazing. Compositions - 5 stars; Performance - 5 stars; Sound - 5 stars.
Also a good choice for most these chamber works would be the recording by the Caupucon brothers who always give a highly musical performance."