Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|A Piano Evening with Martha Argerich |
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Why she is the greatest of the age, and perhaps of all time.
M.G. | San Francisco | 05/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a remarkable DVD, featuring Martha Argerich--arguably the greatest pianist of all time--and two rising musical names: Renaud Capucon, violin, and Gautier Capucon, cello. While the brothers Capucon deliver beautiful and nuanced playing, this is really Argerich's show (as usual). I am constantly amazed at how she manages to elevate the playing of those around her to new heights. She simply has such technical and musical command of her instrument which is really unlike any other pianist, even to the point of paling brilliant contemporary virtuosos like Pollini and Zimerman and past masters like Arrau, Michelangeli, and Richter. Her performances on this DVD exhibit simply jaw-dropping virtuosity (inhuman, really) and incredibly nuanced music-making, intuitive to the core but always fully realized. Watching her hands and arms work, you can't help but think this woman was born to play the piano; and listening to her music making, you realize you are witnessing a truly legendary musician. Her technique is so transcendental that she simply can do anything she likes at the piano, eliciting a million different musical colors and shades, and such rhythmic drive and intensity as to phrase a musical line in infinitely different ways.
The program includes Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Argerich as soloist, Schumann's Sonata for Piano and Violin in a minor with Renaud Capucon and Argerich, and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with all three performers. I want to stress how amazing the camera work is in this DVD: you get shots of the keyboard and Argerich's hands and arms as if you were standing right next to her turning the pages, really giving you an inside look into a staggering technical mechanism. You also get a variety of different shots around the outdoor auditorium, from an audience perspective and orchestral position.
First, the Prokofiev: as you might expect, this performance begins with all-out pyrotechnics, with Argerich tossing off arm-blurring octaves and chords, thirds and sixths, as if she were having her morning coffee. Her scales--in both hands--are tossed-off at light speed and shimmer with a thousand different tones. She really plays this piece as a true chamber musician, always paying strict attention to the orchestral part and solos from the winds and brass. She also looks like she's having the time of her life, smiling before launching into another mind-numbing display of virtuosity. The middle movement is beautifully executed with slow and mysterious phrasing, shades of texture, and remarkable syncopation. The final movement really illustrates Argerich's rhythmic drive, as she simply explodes into one phrase after the next. The camera work is really amazing in this piece (and throughout), showing the rippling scales and propulsive octaves that bring this piece to a triumphant close.
The Schumann sonata introduces Renaud Capucon, who really seems to be a promising violinist. Here Argerich assumes her chamber music role, with such sensitive and musical--yet free-- playing that it seems she's improvising the sonata here on the spot. Capucon really seems on top of this piece, and the two of them seem like they have been playing chamber music for life. The first movement is played in a sweeping, probing, Romantic style (as is appropriate), with a gorgeous second movement that probes meditatively. The final movement is taken at a great clip, with really fleeting passage work by both artists. Argerich's playing again looks completely effortless, but full of musical coloring and rhythmic articulation.
The final piece of the program is the Beethoven Triple concerto, played by Renaud Capucon and Gautier Capucon--violin and cello, respectively--and Argerich on piano. This is a really grand and noble interpretation of this piece. I've always thought that--somewhat paradoxically--Beethoven and Mozart reveal more of Argerich's inhuman technique than the big Romantics and early twentieth-century composers. Scales in her left and right hands just fly away in dazzling arrays; arpeggios fly with mind blowing clarity and scale; and trills, double and in thirds, are tossed with brilliant ease. Here, Argerich can do whatever she wants and with such spontaneity that it's like listening to this work for the first time. This is not to say that her interpretation is somehow not in the Classical style--to the contrary, it is how Beethoven and Mozart would have dreamed to hear it played. All three musicians really deserve credit for a beautiful performance, as they all three are in tune with chamber-music-like exchanges of passages. The orchestra does an admirable job, as well.
In short, anyone who loves great music making, great chamber music playing, and especially the piano should buy this DVD. I've followed Argerich's career and performances for many years now, and each time I am astounded with what I'm witnessing. She really is in a league by herself, and this DVD is yet another documentation--perhaps the best commercially available recording--of her artistic genius. This DVD really makes you agree that calling Argerich the greatest living pianist--and the greatest of all time--is not mere hyperbole; that Mstislav Rostropovich's characterization of her as "A pianist with no limits at all: none whatsoever" is entirely apt; and that surely her only rivals--though from her recordings of both this is even questionable-- could possibly be Liszt and Chopin themselves, for she is more than a great technician: she is an artist, creator, and musician of the highest possible caliber. She redefines the art of piano playing, taking it to a new plane of music-making and virtuosity. You simply must buy this DVD and prepare to be astounded.
An evening with this admirable soloist!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 09/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD captures to Mrs. Argerich in absolute plenitude of her overpowered gifts with a variegated program.
Alexander Rabinovitch demonstrates his persuasive temperament as conductor, making a terrific version about Prokoviev's Classical Symphony Op. 25.
Then, soloist and orchestra performed an electrifying version of Prokoviev's First Piano Concerto, filled and hovered of that mercurial display of eruptive fierceness and sheer lyricism.
Then came the performance of Schumann's Violin Sonata, frank, honest, virile and incisive without romantic meanderings.
The jewel of the crown turned around the magisterial performance about Beethoven's Triple Concerto. Interpretative solvency and remarkable exhibition of noblesse and expressiveness.
If you want to give yourself a deserved gift or in case you want to give a musical gift to a beloved person, don't think it over and go for this one.