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Verbier Festival 2010 - Martha Argerich [Blu-ray]

Argerich,Martha / Guerrier / Vfco / Takacs-nagy
Release Date: 06/28/2011 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 3079564  
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenDmitri ShostakovichGeorges BizetDomenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Martha ArgerichDavid Guerrier
Conductor:  Gábor Takács-Nagy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 1. SHOSTAKOVICH Piano Concerto No. 1 2. BIZET Symphony 3 1,2 Martha Argerich (pn); 2 David Guerrier (tpt); Gábor Takács-Nagy, cond; Verbier Fest CO IDÉALE AUDIENCE 3079564 (Blu-ray: 87:00); Read more 3079568 (DVD: 87: 00) Live: 1 7/22/2009, 2,3 7/17/2010

k SCARLATTI Sonata in d, K 141

No real surprises here, but plenty of pleasure nonetheless. Martha Argerich was in her late-60s when these concerts took place. But neither her age nor her health problems have dulled her focus or dimmed her fire, and she gives these concertos—both staples of her repertoire—youthful, quick-tempered performances full of biting accents and sparklingly clear inner lines, producing kick-ass rhythms and a sizzling energy that keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s not that she lacks introspection. The middle movement of the Beethoven takes on a strikingly dark cast, leading to an evocative sense of stillness at its close; the second movement of the Shostakovich begins with a haunting sense of forlorn emptiness, entirely without irony. But in the end, you’ll probably remember these readings more for their vitality and their wry humor than for their reflection or sobriety. As for the visual component: You get some vivid shots of Argerich’s startling fingerwork; and it’s sometimes illuminating to see her facial expressions (for instance, the way she rolls her eyes after rehearsal 63 in the last movement of the Shostakovich, dismissing the trumpet as an unwelcome serenader). But despite the pristine quality of the image, the video direction is so unimaginative, so limited in its perspective, that I don’t think it contributes much to the total experience.

Both in the concertos and in their own buoyant performance of the Bizet (rightly listed on the jacket as a “bonus” to the main act), the young players of the orchestra—alumni of the even more youthful Verbier Festival Orchestra—play with tremendous verve, but also a fair degree of sensitivity. Listen, for instance, to the sweetness of the second movement of the Bizet (graced with an eloquent oboe soloist) or, more impressive still, the recollection of late Mahler as they lead into the trumpet’s nocturnal soliloquy after the big cadenza in the second movement of the Shostakovich. Alas, the production could be better. The program booklet is peppered with misleading observations, and the sound—surprising on a Blu-ray documenting so recent an occasion—is limited to two-channel PCM.

Still, a rewarding addition to the catalog.

FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Martha Argerich (Piano)
Conductor:  Gábor Takács-Nagy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C minor, Op. 35 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Martha Argerich (Piano), David Guerrier (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Gábor Takács-Nagy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; USSR 
Symphony in C major by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Gábor Takács-Nagy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; France 
Sonata for Harpsichord in D minor, K 141/L 422 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Martha Argerich (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 

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