Martha Argerich & Friends: Live from Lugano 2014

Martha Argerich

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Martha Argerich & Friends: Live from Lugano 2014 Review

by Blair Sanderson

Similar to previous volumes in this long-running series, the Live from Lugano 2014 box set offers the expected mix of a piano concerto, various chamber works, and keyboard performances by Martha Argerich and a group of well-known and rising musicians. While most of the performances are satisfying, particularly Argerich's refined interpretation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, and the handful of chamber sonatas by Frank Bridge, Francis Poulenc, and Mieczyslaw Weinberg, there is one selection that doesn't work so well. The arrangement for piano quintet of Darius Milhaud's La création du monde is unbalanced in the murky recording, and the lackluster transcription and sluggish performance show none of the jazziness and charm of the original version for chamber orchestra. Other than that oddity, and the curiosity that is Ferruccio Busoni's youthful transcription for two pianos, eight hands of Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 1 in C minor, which comes off more like a clever stunt than a compelling performance, the rest of the pieces are well-chosen and equally well-played. The roster of artists includes Lugano regulars, like cellists Mischa Maisky and Gautier Capuçon, violinist Gidon Kremer, and pianist Gabriela Montero, though most of the musicians are not household names. All the same, they are likely familiar to collectors of these live recordings and deserve the exposure the festival brings.

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