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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Matt Haimovitz, Mari Kodama, MON AMI, Mon amour, Early Modern French Music for Cello and Piano


I have been playing catch up a little lately with releases that are worthwhile that I have meant to cover. So today there is an effervescent program of French Early Modern-Post-Romantic music for cello and piano. It features the magnificent cello of Matt Haimovitz and the compellingly complementary piano of Mari Kodama. It is fittingly titled MON AMI, Mon amour (Pentatone PTC 5186 816).

One thing this music reminds us of happily and memorably is that the early Modern French chamber style so nicely represented here was Post-Romantic in its general Impressionism, Romantically expressive in a different way than 19th century styles--in other words rather more luminescent, harmonically sophisticated and decidedly atmospheric.

What especially attracts me to this program is the wide swatch of composers covered, just about a definitive sample of the leading lights for expressive inventiveness back then. So we have two pieces by Gabriel Faure, and one apiece by the likes of Francois Poulenc, Darius Milhaud,  Lili Boulanger, Nadia Boulanger, Maurice Ravel, and Claude Debussy.

The music has real substance. Matt and Mari take pains to give each a detailed regardful mood and a dynamic reading, nothing less than what one might come to expect from such a talented pairing. The result is an album all Francophiles should revel in and listen to repeatedly with increasing pleasure. Strongly recommended.

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