Martha Argerich is the last remaining pianist of legend. A wild child and a rebel at heart, this legendary Argentinean musician is surrounded by an aura of mystery: some find her too uncompromising, others generous and be... more »autiful, yet to all she is without doubt incredibly talented. For the very first time on camera Martha Argerich shares with us her memories, confides in us her doubts, and transmits to us her incredible appetite for music making. Images of Argentina, rehearsals in the concert hall or at home, excerpts of recent concerts and archival clips complete this unique film on one of the most secretive and endearing artists of our time.« less
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 08/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Martha Argerich, for many of us, has long been an enigma. She has always been a private person, one who does not seek the spotlight, who even cancels performances because, it is said, of nervousness, shyness. Filmmaker Georges Gachot, after years of entreaties, gets her to agree, to speak with him on camera. She comes across as a soft-spoken, shy, immensely intelligent but often cryptic person, one who has idiosyncratic but attractive ideas about her relationships with composers and various pieces of music. For instance, she will not play the Beethoven Fourth Concerto because she is afraid of 'what might happen', this after talking about the galvanic emotional effect it has had on her ever since she heard Claudio Arrau play it when she was six.
Interleaved with Gachot's and Argerich's low-key but very revealing conversations are many clips of Argerich rehearsing and playing, primarily with orchestra or with other pianists. There are seventeen clips of her playing music ranging from an incandescent Capriccio from Bach's Second Partita to a two-piano and percussion arrangement of Piazzolla's Libertango. She is shown, in a long clip, rehearsing the Schumann Concerto with Jörg Faerber and the Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra. There is a blistering finale of the Ravel G Major Concerto (with Charles Dutoit conducting). There are clips from her 1965 Chopin Competition win and a marvelous performance of Lutoslawski's two-piano Paganini Variations with Mauricio Vallina. And a short bit from the Teatro Colón with fellow South American Nelson Freire in the piano four-hand 'Laideronette' from the Mother Goose Suite of Ravel. Riches, indeed.
Although most of the music contained in the documentary is excerpted, there is a bonus that includes full performances of the Bach Capriccio, Schumann Concerto, two Piazzolla pieces, a sensational Scarlatti sonata (D Minor, K141) and a Chopin Mazurka (F Minor, Op. 63, No. 2).
Argerich's fabled technique is in plentiful supply throughout, but even more is her highly personal way with all the works she plays. She is clearly one of a kind and it is no wonder she has fanatical admirers the world over. I suspect they are snapping this DVD up. And if you know or want to know Argerich's playing, you will, too.
"Guchot's documentary is about Martha Argerich's oneness with the music she plays. We knew it existed already from hearing her performances. Here she articulates it in ways that are candid, joyful, earthy, and most eloquent in her charming manner. She is never pedantic. These conversations reveal the deeply personal and dynamic relationship with her art and the composers who make it happen. Only such humility and integrity, and perhaps a fundamentally iron will, can make her transcendental technique soar in interpretations which have been prodigious and unsurpassed in my concert-going life. Perhaps film gives us a glimpse about a way of being one wish one could achieve. Most tellingly, it is not about the applause, which seems immaterial and irrelevant when dealing with an artist of this caliber (indeed, it is more a release for the audience than a nutrient for a performer in this class..... though they all probably love it). The joy is in the playing. It is all about living the music.
This is a unique dvd. Not quite an interview, rather she talks about her music, playing with others, the personal way she has of relating to the composers she performs...... when performing Lizst and Chopin in the same evening she must make sure to play them equally as true to themselves so one won't be jealous of the other. I truly understand her respect and love for Schumann as I totally identify with it. In her casual conversation, these ideas make music a living thing and one gets a glimpse of Argerich's total dedication to her art. This is indeed Martha Argerich conversing about how and why she is a pianist and one gets the information not from a script but from seemingly extemporaneous comments, from body language, indeed from aptly inserted performance footage, including youngster Argerich. Very little biographical information is included, only what surfaces in context of discussions of her music making. This is fine, perhaps even welcomed. The only regret I have is that the documentary goes by too quickly. We are getting glimpses of this dear and revered lady's musical soul and one wants to hold on.
There are some wonderful performances attached as bonus. Particularly beautiful and exciting are her encores from a concert in Switzerland (Scarlatti, Chopin, Bach), and the 2 piano version of Lutoslawski Paganini Variations performed by Argerich and the wonderful Mauricio Vallina.
Interspersed at convenient intervals throughout the film, there are scenes of Buenos Aires and the Argentine country side that without taking the narrative anywhere, nonetheless add dimension to the discussion. Conversation seemlessly flows back and forth from mostly French, to English with some German and a little Spanish thrown in. The film is well subtitled.
Argerich as an artist has always brought me great pleasure and solace. She has nurtured up-and-coming talent like no other. There is no pianist like her and I feel lucky to have been living in her time. One is always waiting for the opportunity to say "Thank you," so let this, even if far removed, be one such.
Strongly recommended, indispensible for all lovers of music for the piano. "
Baseball Messiah | 09/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I did, of course, know of Martha Argerich. I have a copy of her debut recording, when she was a teenager of growing international renown. This movie goes back and forth in her career, beginning in medias res, working with a young violinist. The film contains clips of her earlier performances, interspersed with her "evening talks" with associates and the film maker. Her perspectives on her career, her professional relationships, and her relationships with music/composers is beyond enlightening. It is amazing to watch her work. This film will repay both your purchase and your study."
What a powerful woman.
Nicholas Goodridge | Brisbane, QLD, AUS | 08/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this in awe. Martha Argerich, as most of us know, is an iconic wonder of the art of piano. She knows the instrument so intimately. The instrument gives to her what most of us dream it could give to us.
This DVD takes you into her lounge, sits you in front of the fireplace and serves you a cup of tea. What an amazingly filmed interview. The relaxed nature of it is so enticing, and makes you feel rude to stand up and leave the room for a toilet break. I just watched it in awe.
There are recordings of her playing some of the most amazing and characterised pieces ever written with such ownership that it would make you, if you are a pianist, want to give up your instrument completely and become a milk man (either that, or inspire you to the greatest degree of musicality). It's impossible to hear a false note by Martha. In this video, there is a section where you are sitting in a rehearsal of Schumann's Piano Concerto...and not once does she look troubled, and not once is there a notational error.
Im ranting now, so Ill simply say this: Buy this DVD to get an interview with Martha Argerich that will make you inspired, jealous, lustful (for music), defeated, happy, awe-filled, warm and satisfied...all at the same time."
Insight into the Legend
Alan Lekan | Boulder, CO | 12/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Years ago when starting to collect classical music, I developed a basic rule regarding anything recorded by Martha Argerich - just get it as it will be historic and something totally unique. This DVD is no exception. While not all always agree with her takes on certain pieces, most all with a pulse will agree that Martha Argerich always makes the music she plays an electrifying headline event.
You have heard her play - maybe even in person - but here now you can get to know what makes this legendary pianist tick. Like anyone we have not yet met, she may not fit into your imaginations of her. A straightforward-talking person commanding several languages in the interview, Argerich is always unpredictable in what she says as in her playing at times. You got to love anyone who tells you that Bach's colassal c-minor partita puts her at ease - especially at the breathtaking velocity she plays it at. It is featured as a stunning encore performance along with a scintillating scarlatti sonata - all of which also revealed her recent agreement to play recitals again on a small scale in past few years.
Also what will just levitate you is watching her stroll into the concert hall, smile and begin to play rapid-fire just as she touches the stool. Stunning as is much of the many performances including several films of her performances in the 60's through 80's and even dating back to her intro as a world performer in the 1965 Chopin competition. A DVD to get for the collection and share with classical friends."