In a rare meeting of musical minds in Paris last month, Itzhak Perlman and Martha Argerich found the time in their demanding schedules to record a new album, to be released late 2016 on Warner Classics.
It has been 18 years since their last album together: a live recital from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. On that momentous occasion in 1998, the pair performed three of the 19th century’s most ambitious and enthralling works for violin and piano – Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, the Franck Violin Sonata and Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 1. The first two sonatas were released in 1999 by EMI Classics (now Warner Classics) in what was the pair’s only recording together until now.
The Schumann Violin Sonata will at long last be released alongside the new recordings from the Paris sessions, making the forthcoming album a fascinating ‘then and now’ portrait of how two living legends have evolved musically.
In addition to the 1998 recording, this milestone collaboration between Argerich and Perlman sees the duo explore three masterpieces from the Baroque to the Romantic in intimate chamber recital: Bach’s Violin Sonata No.4 in C Minor, BWV 1017 (with its famous Siciliano), Schumann’s impassioned Fantasiestücke Op 73, and Brahms’s Scherzo from the Sonatensatz in C minor (the ‘F.A.E. Sonata’), dedicated to the great violinist Joseph Joachim.
“Martha is the most amazing pianist,” says Perlman of his recital partner. “It’s always been my dream to make music with her… We thought of completing that recording from 1998 by making another record almost 20 years later.
“Working with Martha was a unique experience for me …Her brilliance and the colours she uses when she plays are recognisable as soon as you hear them – it’s her; nobody else sounds like that… I am so excited that we were actually able to record together again… When this possibility came along that she might be able to have a couple of days free to record I said, ‘I’ll go any place!’”
Martha Argerich added: “I feel so stimulated to play with Itzhak, it’s really a feast – fantastic! It’s a very special relationship, I am completely enchanted.”
Jean-Philippe Roland, EVP of Artists & Repertoire at Warner Classics, said: "I don’t want to sound over the top, but only a comparison of astronomic magnitude can properly depict the musical reunion of these two living legends."
Both artists have maintained a longstanding relationship with Warner Classics. The label celebrated Itzhak Perlman’s 70th birthday in 2015 with the release of his complete Warner Classics recordings in a lavish 77-CD edition. Martha Argerich, who turns 75 in June 2016, continues to release an annual chamber music collection live from the Lugano Festival as part of the Martha Argerich & Friends project. Her birthday will be marked with a major boxed set project this year, along with the first release on vinyl of her legendary 1965 Chopin album.
These are two of the most sought-after chamber musicians of their generation. Perlman has recorded with the likes of Daniel Barenboim, André Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Emanuel Ax at the piano; Argerich with Gidon Kremer, Ivry Gitlis, Vadim Repin and Renaud Capuçon on violin. (Warner Classics)