A rare filmed performance of one of the greatest pianists of all times, Martha Argerich. Argerich is almost as well known for her reclusive nature as she is for her exciting performances. In this DVD release we are privile... more »ged to have captured Martha Argerich at her peak in three separate duets. These collaborations present an involved musical conversation unmatched by any solo performance. Martha Argerich and Nicolas Economou perform Mozart's "Piano Sonata for Four Hands in D major, K. 381," and then, together with Mischa Maisky, Argerich plays Schuman's "Phantasiestücke op.73, No. 1-3." Finally, Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire perform two pieces; Rachmaninov's "Suite for Two Pianos no. 2, Op.17" and Ravel's "La Valse." This DVD release includes the unique feature of optional on-screen analysis of the music being performed as well as subtitle display of the mood and tempo. An in-depth biography of each of the performers is included, as are on-screen liner notes, a glossary of musical terms and contemporary history of the compositions. This remastered footage was originally filmed in 1982, and the music was remixed from the original multitrack tapes to a 5.1 dolby digital mix. Audio options include the original non-compressed stereo mix.« less
"The music and the playing of Argerich and her friends are first-rate. The complexity of 2 piano music or 4 hand piano music is wonderful to hear and to behold. The hearing was wonderful; the beholding was not.Too much time was spent looking at the backs of performers, the nose and prominent wave of Ar gerich hair, the beard of Freire. Admittedly, closeups of performers can be very rewarding, but when more than one or two features consumes the entire screen.I believe that music lovers who buy DVD per- formances of classical music want to see the musicians plying their virtuosity. That means for pianists the hands should be featured. That's where the music is being made. Certainly, camera views can be arranged to accommodate both the upper body, arms, hands, and keyboard.In music utilizing two pianos it seems that a split-sreen technique could have been used to capture the total performance from the two players at the same time so that the listenercould see fully what he/she was hearing at a given moment in the music rather than the camera alternating from the hands of one performer to the hands of the other, thus displaying only half of what was being performed.Again, the performances were superior, and if this were a CD rather than a DVD, I would rate it 5 stars.Finally, the pictures were clear and vivid; it is the approach to the photography of the performances that needed to be refocused."
Too many faces / So few hands
R. Machado | Sao Paulo, SP Brazil | 01/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This video is an excelent performance. In fact, Argerich was in a peak! Somethings that are not so good:The Schumann's Fatasie is a very nice piece and the sound is really good. But, I don't know why, the cameras seems to treat Mr. Maisky as a kind of soloist, and Argerich's hands its almost never seen.The cameras shows the faces of the musicians for a long time, more than necessary. When she was playing with Nelson Freire, there is a camera that shows a frontal vision of the two pianos, you see the "body" of the pianos instead of the hands. The hands appears too, but it could appear more.Some positive points are:The sound quality is very, very good. The selection is very special. The last two pieces are very strong. The performance is perfect!There is some program extras, like biographies and music titles. One of them is a feature called music analisys. It's really interesting. You can listen to the music and see a legend explaining the parts of the music. For example, the parts of the sonata: exposition, codetta, development of the first theme and so on."
A wonder to behold
R. Machado | 09/26/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Argerich's rhythm is impeccable. Although I am not crazy about Freire, he seems to be among the few who can keep up with her! As another reviewer stated, I expected to see the performer's hands a lot more often. AND...I thought the camera spent too much time on Friere and his hands and not on Argerich. After all, it is called MARTHA ARGERICH and Friends. But thankfully, the sound and quality of this DVD made me forget about it for a while. I sorely miss Economou! He and Argerich were made for each other. Their recording of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is a gem. This Mozart 1-piano 4-hands sonata is a favorite of mine and it was a real treat to see. Maisky's performance of Schumann was something else. I had forgotten how beautiful this work was.
All in all, this DVD is a must for all Argerich fans."
Three Super Stars In One Single DVD
BLee | HK | 05/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was filmed in 1982. Martha, now in her old age, was still quite attractive then. What struck me instead was the similarities bewteen her and her former teacher Fredrich Gulda: the same kind of hands, the same touch, the equally strong sense of rhythm, and both almost equally dynamic...Arrau had ears only for her and Barenboim amongst the younger generation. But for the latter, Arrau's assessment might have included his achievement as a conductor. For Martha, Arrau said, "She is not very consistent but she has a revelatory power..." That power did not come from Gulda alone as he was just a bit short of that himself, albeit that it was him who laid her foundations. Audience who is familiar enough with Gieseking can tell that Martha has absorbed quite a bit from Gieseking and then a bit of Horowitz too. And behind all these was her personality which includes her shyness and her rebellion against the piano and she ran away from it very often and for the longest period three years. An excellent way of not getting mechanical! All these contributed to her unique power.From Mozart for four hands, we see quite a lot of Martha's hands. And from Rachmaninov, we have much of her bare ( upper as well as lower) arms so that we can see the whole arms/ hands/fingers in action. There isn't any secret about her hands. Her facial expressions and bodily rhythmic movements are instead more telling, some kind of swooning we get from Gieseking's playing.Amongst her partners, Economou is rather new to most audience, he is young and he is very good. As for Nelson Freire, he is definitely one of the best pianists who is still around. His touch as well as his facility are just amazing. To some (and among them one is none but Martha herself), he is even more interesting than Martha. With a greater musical mind, he would have made another piano Czar!As to Maisky, he is one of the most celebrated cellists today. He also played with his bare forearm, so that we can see his hands in actions. He is, like Elman the violinist, a rather small person and he often has to resort to a full swing of his whole arm when bowing, but the musicality is superb. He may not have the perfect ease or poise of Daniil Shafran, but he has definitely learned enough from Rostropovich and Fournier. Some audience even prefer him to YoYo Ma. It's a most lovely piece there.The drawbacks: yes, the sound and visual effects aren't quite the best. But they are more than acceptable. The way each clip finishes off is quite odd too. Above all, it's quite short only 56 minutes in total."
On Phantasiestücke op.73
ronaldbrian | Quezon City, Philippines | 07/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've had Jacqueline du Pre's recording of Schumann's Phantasiestücke op.73 for years before I got this DVD. A few notes of comparison. In the du Pre recording, the cellist is clearly the star, the Phantasiestücke a showcase for the cello, the piano mere accompaniment. Gerald Moore is made deliberately unremarkable perhaps, a muted background and ornamentation for the cellist. In this DVD, Argerich does not accompany Mischa Maisky; she performs Schumann with him. Argerich is legend, Maisky a celebrated cellist in his own right, yet there is no grandstanding or obsequious deference between the two. Instead their Phantasiestücke is a beautiful duet of equals, a sonata, a dance between seasoned lovers, a sigh. After their performance I understood more the excess of rubato that is the usual observation on du Pre; it also means that the Phantasiestücke too long drawn out can be dry and boring. We can forgive du Pre for this; she was 17 years old when she performed the piece. The half-fullness of the life of a teenager, however prodigious and gifted, would tell on the performance. One can only wonder how the mature du Pre would have assayed the piece had illness not felled her. With this DVD, we can be thankful that two seasoned artists performed it at their peak. At Argerich and Maisky's hands Schumann's work is infused with epiphany, humor, wisdom, and such nuance that the insight of years can mine. Don't pass up."