Martha Argerich and Friends: Live from the Lugano Festival 2008

Martha Argerich

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Martha Argerich and Friends: Live from the Lugano Festival 2008 Review

by James Leonard

As with previous issues in this outstanding series from Martha Argerich's Lugano Festival, the performers included here range from acknowledged masters such as cellist Mischa Maisky and pianist Stephen Kovacevich to near unknowns such as bassoonist Vincent Godel and clarinetist Corrado Giuffredi. Likewise, the repertoire ranges from the fairly well-known Schumann D minor Violin Sonata and Janácek Concertino to the virtually unknown Arensky Piano Quintet and Pletnev Fantasia elvetica. But no matter the performers or the repertoire, the results are superlative. Argerich herself appears on only half of the dozen pieces here, but she's electrifying in every one. Her Mozart Andante and Variations with Kovacevich is smoothly polished, her Schumann Sonata with Renaud Capuçon is ardently lyrical, her Rachmaninov Suite No. 1 with Lilya Zilberstein is passionately sensual, and her Janácek Concertino with six string and wind players is sweetly eccentric. But even the pieces on which Argerich doesn't appear are superb, especially Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 1 with pianist Lily Maisky, violinist Alissa Margulis, and cellist Mischa Maisky. Though the early work has received more recording attention in the years preceding this release, this one may be the first one to get the composer's unlikely combination of irony and sentimentality just right. Listeners with more old-fashioned tastes may not go for some of the works on the third disc, but they might want to consider updating their taste rather than passing over this fine recording. As before in this series, EMI's live sound is warm, clear, and deep.

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