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Quatuor Ébène|Menahem Pressler - A 90th Birthday Celebration - Live in Paris

Menahem Pressler - A 90th Birthday Celebration - Live in Paris

Quatuor Ébène

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The career of pianist and chamber music specialist Menahem Pressler dates back to the World War II era. He was a member of the Beaux Arts Trio for its entire existence from 1955 to 2008, and apparently he wasn't ready to retire along with the rest of the group. This album was recorded live at the Salle Pleyel in Paris on audio and video in November 2013, just before Pressler's 90th birthday, and it's not only extraordinary for a 90-year-old, it's exciting in absolute terms. The audio CD presents two cornerstones of the Romantic chamber repertory, the Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81, of Dvorák, and the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 ("Trout"), of Schubert. Both performances, passionate and hell-for-leather, represent a meeting of the minds between Pressler and the Quatuor Ebène, but what's notable is how often Pressler seems to be directing the proceedings. Sample the slow movement of the Schubert (track 7), where the forward impetus clearly is coming from Pressler. An included DVD covers the same music, some Schubert songs with tenor Christoph Prégardien and some encores presenting the quartet and Pressler solo, plus an affectionate tribute from the audience at the end. There are a few glitches, but not more than other pianists make in true live recordings, and overall it's hard to escape the impression that this is the kind of chamber performance just not heard anymore. The only real complaint is the respiratory distress of what seems an unusually large portion of the audience.

© TiVo

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Menahem Pressler - A 90th Birthday Celebration - Live in Paris

Quatuor Ébène

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1
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81, B. 155: I. Allegro ma non tanto (Live)
00:10:43

Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

2
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81, B. 155: II. Dumka. Andante con moto (Live)
00:14:22

Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

3
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81, B. 155: III. Scherzo. Furiant (Live)
00:04:26

Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

4
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81, B. 155: IV. Finale. Allegro (Live)
00:08:32

Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

5
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. Posth. 114, D. 667 "The Trout": I. Allegro vivace (Live)
00:09:32

Franz Schubert, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

6
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. Posth. 114, D. 667 "The Trout": II. Andante (Live)
00:07:54

Franz Schubert, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

7
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. Posth. 114, D. 667 "The Trout": III. Scherzo. Presto (Live)
00:04:33

Franz Schubert, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

8
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. Posth. 114, D. 667 "The Trout": IV. Tema con variazione. Andantino (Live)
00:08:18

Franz Schubert, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

9
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. Posth. 114, D. 667 "The Trout": V. Finale. Allegro giusto (Live)
00:07:19

Franz Schubert, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Menahem Pressler, Piano, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, A Warner Music Group Company. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 LGM Télévision under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

Album review

The career of pianist and chamber music specialist Menahem Pressler dates back to the World War II era. He was a member of the Beaux Arts Trio for its entire existence from 1955 to 2008, and apparently he wasn't ready to retire along with the rest of the group. This album was recorded live at the Salle Pleyel in Paris on audio and video in November 2013, just before Pressler's 90th birthday, and it's not only extraordinary for a 90-year-old, it's exciting in absolute terms. The audio CD presents two cornerstones of the Romantic chamber repertory, the Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81, of Dvorák, and the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 ("Trout"), of Schubert. Both performances, passionate and hell-for-leather, represent a meeting of the minds between Pressler and the Quatuor Ebène, but what's notable is how often Pressler seems to be directing the proceedings. Sample the slow movement of the Schubert (track 7), where the forward impetus clearly is coming from Pressler. An included DVD covers the same music, some Schubert songs with tenor Christoph Prégardien and some encores presenting the quartet and Pressler solo, plus an affectionate tribute from the audience at the end. There are a few glitches, but not more than other pianists make in true live recordings, and overall it's hard to escape the impression that this is the kind of chamber performance just not heard anymore. The only real complaint is the respiratory distress of what seems an unusually large portion of the audience.

© TiVo

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