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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martha Argerich: a wonder of the world, 24 Nov 2012
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
This review is from: Martha Argerich - Lugano Concertos (Audio CD)
I'm quite surprised no one has reviewed this yet - it seems to me that it is totally unmissable! In fact it is hard to describe how exciting it is. There are some works here that Martha Argerich has not recorded before - Brahms' Liebesliederwalzer, for instance, sung by a larger group than is sometimes heard, which is pure bliss - here it is accompanied by piano 4 hands, and the textures are totally seductive and amazingly clear. Schubert's Divertissement a la hongroise opens this fourth disc with great soul and tenderness, while it is rounded off by the light hijinks of Milhaud's Scaramouche - altogether this last disc is certainly an original combination of works (Stravinsky's Les Noces is the fourth item, where she is one in a line-up of four pianists accompanying a solo group of vocalists and chorus, and very celebratory and rustic it sounds too!). Most buyers, however, will probably want it for the concertos themselves, and I can't imagine more thrilling performances than these of all of them. The Liszt is her first recording of it since her trailblazing account with Abbado in the sixties, but this one seems more exciting - it is absolutely edge-of-your-seat stuff, with Argerich fully realising the expressive potential of every phrase and moulding the sound like plasticine, only to shoot off like a toy shotgun and leave the orchestra scampering to keep up. This performance, and the Prokofiev 3, are for me the highlights - it is pianism of incredible colour and lustre, and delivered with a unique sense of the moment which is what makes her such a superb pianist, that, and her ability to play so accurately at such speed. The Beethoven concertos (1 and 2) took me back to her recording of them with Giuseppe Sinopoli back in about 1984. I listened to the cassette of it so much that the phrasing became one with the piece, as if it had to go that way, and I still feel it is the yardstick. Her view of both works is fundamentally unchanged but she is perhaps more daring now, aided by the live context, so that the amazing descending arpeggios with which the piano accompanies the statement of the first subject in the C major concerto now cascade forth in a magnificent blur, where before they were a bit more defined. The orchestral accompaniments, however, have gone in a more 'period' direction in terms of crispness and reduced forces. I defy anyone not to be completely caught up in the bubbling-over gaiety of the last movement of this same concerto ... As to the rest, there is another Schumann, perhaps a little more expansive than some of her past versions, a thrilling 2-piano concerto from Poulenc that sounds like being in the middle of a fairground ride you could only dream of, and a most winning early Mozart concerto offering for three pianos, and some 4-hand variations ... Plus new versions of Bartok 3 (superbly plangent in parts) and Prokofiev 1 (as if we've joined Franz Marc's expressionistic animals in a lush rainforest) - how could one not feel spoilt to have all this so vividly brought to life?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great playing - lousy packaging, 6 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Martha Argerich - Lugano Concertos (Audio CD)
I have just received a copy of the Lugano concertos which is a compilation of Martha Argerich in concert at her Swiss festival at Lugano. Although most people will have at least some of these recordings this set is well worth getting for the fabulous playing of Argerich live. The orchestral playing is a bit routine but this is more than made up for by the sparkling piano playing. The concertos are really do crackle with energy and fizz. The concertos include Beethoven one and two, Liszt 1, Schumann, Bartok 3 and Prokofiev 1&3. There is also a great performance of the Poulenc Concerto for two pianos and Mozart triple concerto. The fourth disc is interesting as it features works by Schubert, Brahms, Stravinsky and Milhaud.
The playing is really first-class - something I cannot say for the packaging which is absolutely terrible. It is supposed to be a limited edition Deluxe set but it looks as though it has been designed by some trendy person who does not collect CDs themselves. Instead of a box we have a 8 x 5 book in a slipcase which is extremely inconvenient as it does not fit onto a CD shelf in any way. The book is beautifully printed but has an absolutely lousy essay which gives no thoughts to the performers or the music. There are also no texts or translations for the vocal numbers which are included in the set. It is all very annoying but I would still recommend these discs wholeheartedly for the music on them. Argerich is fab!
So five stars is for the music on the discs. Pity about the packaging!
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Martha Argerich - Lugano Concertos
Martha Argerich - Lugano Concertos by Martha Argerich (Audio CD - 2012)
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