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Monday, April 5, 2010

A peaceful battle: Starker/Sebok vs. Rostropowitsch/Richter



The Integral piano sonatas for cello and piano are among the very plinths in Western music, period.

I humbly split my love, fondness and awe between the above mentioned renditions: an elusive marvellous edition recorded in early '60s for Erato, then re-appeared on Philips, than on Mercury and MHS in the USA... I own a Japanese pressing on Erato which I found and cherish as one of my desert island discs and a seldom listened-to MHS'...

Right now I'm listening to Philips' french vintage edition box-set by Rostropowitsch/Richter... I'm almost in tears, yet the musicians are playing in perfect pitch (the cellist...) and dynamics (the piano)...

... changed to the Erato's, the singing quality the Starker/Sebok I'm NOW listening to seems to allow to better "forget" the technique which stands behind the music... the melody and "compassion" are so different from the previous.

Same score, different feeling... how many times happened and will happens.

Starker's cello is more "human", like it is the great, marvellous, humble and fiery Sebok's piano accompaniement, while Rostropowitsch is a little lacking "soul" with a tad much "guts", also when soul would come first...

We're talking about the VERY best, but here is my ignorant soul speaking, not a musicologist I'm not;-), but the Beethoven lover.

The Starker/Sebok is an absolute masterpiece of Old World's art and music... when you finish a side, you hurry up to listen to the second and the third and fourth, as an uninterrupted stream, a (musical) waterfall...

The Philips' Rostrpowitsch/Richter is a little tiring, beside the great class involved: Starker's cello is so voice-like also on most tremendous, boisterous movement and moments, while Rostropowitsch's is - someway - harsher also on pianissimos.

The two recordings sure are sonic beauties, but, I love Starker/Sebok's more and more, as only Straker makes me to hum and sing unison with his playing...

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