I bought this in good faith and then when it arrived found that some whiz kid executive at Warner Classics thought it would be a good idea to issue a 'Greatest Hits' of Martha Argerich's acclaimed series of Lugano Festival releases, but not to tell you that in the blurb! OK, so about 100 minutes of six well filled CD's (all over 70 minutes) are not from the Festival CDs, but that, I think, was the sop to stop people like me having a say about the slightly devious approach they have adopted. So the Chopin, the second Liszt selection and the Messiaen are not from Lugano Festival back catalogue.
Here is the issue. The Lugano Festival releases (annual, triple CD release since 2002) are fantastic examples of music making. Played and recorded live, they often bring music to CD that would not otherwise get there. Piano versions of well known chamber or orchestral pieces sit alongside some piano and other chamber warhorses, played either by Argerich or musicians that she enjoys working with or is promoting. This years release includes Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer as well as Gabriel Montero, who along with the Capucon brothers have appeared many times in the last ten years. There really is hardly a duff piece in all fourteen releases so far. Like many others I look forward to early May when the latest version usually gets released and pay my £10.00 (usually a hunt around gets them for this price) for the next instalment.
However, to release a six CD set entitled, 'Solos and Duos', drawing mainly on the Lugano Festival back catalogue, without mentioning it in the marketing blurb is, to say the least, disingenuous.
If you already have the majority of the Lugano Festival CD's, then think twice about purchasing this set, unless you want a 'greatest hits' version. Even then, I think one could make an argument that the tracks chosen are not necessarily 'the greatest'. If you have not got any of the Lugano Festival CD's (and why haven't you????) then this makes a great introduction to Martha Argerich and her wonderful world of music making with friends and colleagues
I am open to appeasement offers by the Warner Classics employee who came up with this whiz!