'Live from Lugano 2014'

By Smith, Harriet | Gramophone, August 2015 | Go to article overview

'Live from Lugano 2014'


Smith, Harriet, Gramophone


'Live from Lugano 2014'

Beethoven Variations on 'Bei Mannern', WoO46 (a) Borodin Piano Quintet (b) Bridge Cello Sonatac Mendelssohn Symphony No 1, Op 11 (arr Busoni) (d) Milhaud La creation du monde, Op 81b (e) Mozart Plano Concerto No 20, K466 (f) Poulenc Cello Sonata (g). Sonata for Piano Four Hands (h) Scriabin Fantasy, Op posth (i) Weinberg Violin Sonata No 5, Op 53 (i) (afhj) Martha Argerich pf with (b) Andrey Baranov, (e) Michael Guttman, (b) Geza Hosszu-Legocky, (j) Gidon Kremer, (e) Dora Schwarzberg vns (be) Nora Romanoff va (cg) Gautier Capuzon, (e) Mark Drobinsky, (a) Mischa Maisky, (b) Jing Zhao vcs (h) Dagmar Clottu, (d) Anton Gerstenberg, (d) Daniel Gerstenberg, (e) Eduardo Hubert, (bi) Alexander Mogilevsky, (c) Gabriela Montero, (g) Franceso Piemontesi, Daniel Rivera, dAkame Sakai, (d) Lilya Zilberstein (pfs) (t) Svizzera Italiana Orchestra / Jacek Kaspszyk Warner Classics (S) [3] 2564 61346-0 (3h 15' * DDD)

Even more than some years' instalments, Lugano 2014 is a celebration not just of the inimitable Argentinian but also of the most obscure alleyways of classical music. As ever, Argerich surrounds herself with personalities nearly as outsize as her own. We begin with Mozart, and the D minor Concerto that she performed so phenomenally at the 2013 Lucerne Festival with Abbado. How do they compare? The approach is largely similar as far as the soloist is concerned but the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana is a more traditional ensemble than Orchestra Mozart, with plusher-sounding wind that can't quite compare with Abbado's in terms of intensity.

The first disc travels from dark to light, the Mozart followed by Beethoven's (largely) uproarious Variations on 'Bei Mannern' from The Magic Flute, with Maisky and Argerich egging each other on; they play with great spirit, without Maisky overdoing the vibrato as he sometimes can. From there to Milhaud's arrangement for piano quintet of his own La creation du monde. To my ears, this isn't a patch on the orchestral version, and it's not the easiest of pieces to bring off--there are more than a few textural challenges--and on occasion I found first violinist Dora Schwarzberg's vibrato-rich tone somewhat overbearing. But the Fugue is delivered with due welly, even if the scherzo is slightly raw in places. Similarly, Busoni's arrangement of Mendelssohn's First Symphony, which opens disc 2, sounds a bit relentless in its eight-hands, two-pianos garb. …

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