CD Review: Mon ami, mon amour (Matt Haimovitz, Mari Kodama)

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

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Mon ami, mon amour

Works by Poulenc, Fauré, Milhaud, Lili Boulanger,
Nadia Boulanger, Ravel, Debussy.
Matt Haimovitz, cello. Mari Kodama, piano

Pentatone Oxingale Series PTC 5186 816

Total time: 61 minutes.

This anthology of French works for cello and piano lands lightly on the ear but knows the way to your heart. Francis Poulenc’s quirky Sonata of 1948 moves effortlessly from neoclassical to neo-baroque to tenderly romantic, this last quality being predominant in the Cavatine slow movement. Matt Haimovitz dials his cello down to a whisper while Mari Kodama furnishes exactly the pianissimo “halo sonore” the composer requires. Darius Milhaud’s touching Élégie belies this composer’s reputation for sauciness. Two colourful miniatures by Lili Boulanger and three somewhat more shadowy numbers by her sister Nadia reward repeated listening. A pair of encores by Fauré (including the familiar but exquisite “Après un rêve”) go well. Debussy’s Sonata is the closest pass to standard repertoire. The players make its innumerable slowdowns and accelerations seem entirely spontaneous and Haimovitz deals adroitly with the technical difficulties. Gallic finesse, touched by melancholy, prevails even in Ravel’s Kaddish as arranged by Haimovitz. Indeed, the tone of this recording is restrained, as if the cellist is nursing his beloved Matteo Goffriller instrument (damaged in 2017, as he recounts in his booklet note) back to health. Some recordings reach out and grab you. This one invites you to come closer.

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

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About Author

Arthur Kaptainis has been a classical music critic since 1986. His articles have appeared in Classical Voice North America and La Scena Musicale as well as Musical Toronto. Arthur holds an MA in musicology from the University of Toronto. Since 2019, Arthur is co-editor of La Scena Musicale.

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