Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich and Friends: Live from the Lugano Festival 2009

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Martha Argerich and Friends Live from the Lugano Festival 2009 features a lot of friends but not a lot of Martha Argerich. Although the friends are very good (though not very well known), they are nowhere nearly as good as Argerich, but how many performers could reasonably be expected to be as good as the insanely talented Argentinean pianist? This three-CD set contains 12 pieces, and Argerich plays on just five of them. Inevitably, these are the strongest performances, leading off with a stirring Fantasiestücke for piano trio by Schumann, with Argerich and Renaud and Gautier Capuçon. Other works featuring Argerich include an enchanted Overture and Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream by Mendelssohn in an arrangement for two pianos, with Cristina Marton; a blazing Introduction and Polonaise brilliante by Chopin, with Gautier Capuçon; a demonic Réminiscences de Don Juan by Liszt with Mauricio Vallina; and a positively sultry Nights in the Gardens of Spain by de Falla, accompanied by the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana under Alexander Vedernikov. The other seven performances range from the fabulous -- Renaud Capuçon and Khatia Buniatishvili's ardent account of Bartók's Second Violin Sonata -- to the adequate, as in Sergio Tiempo and Karin Lechner's tepid reading of Rhapsodie espagnole by Ravel. For Argerich fans, this set will be mandatory listening, but the tracks with Argerich herself not surprisingly have the strongest appeal.

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