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A Piano Evening with Martha Argerich [DVD Video]

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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(Apr 24, 2007)
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Product Details

  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NOIWV2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,686 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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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.
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While I agree with the previous reviewer (M.G.) that this is a marvelous DVD, I had some trouble getting past all his hagiographic gushing about Martha Argerich, larded as it is with superlatives. Admittedly she is an amazingly talented pianist, certainly among the greatest of our age, but his claims for her abilities -- 'perhaps (the greatest) of all time' -- seems over the top. Has he ever heard Liszt, Alkan, Thalberg, Busoni, or Godowsky, or whoever play? One notices also that in his review he doesn't mention either the conductor, Argerich's long-time collaborator both as conductor and duo-pianist, Alexandre Rabinovitch (or Rabinovitch-Barakovsky as he's called here), or the young and enthusiastic Flanders Symphony Orchestra. He is so focused on Argerich that he doesn't mention the one piece not involving the piano, the concert's opening work, the invigorating Classical Symphony of Prokofiev. Nor does he mention that this is an outdoor concert, although it must be said that from an audio point of view, one would never have known it; the audio is just fine, as is the camera work.

But he is right in saying this is clearly Argerich's show. Following the Prokofiev symphony is his all-too-rarely-played First Piano Concerto in D Flat which, when I hear it, always makes me feel all's right with the world. That long vaulting first melody in the first movement is a creation of genius. Argerich plays the whole thing with panache and grace as well as surpassing virtuosity.

And since this is a 'Piano Night with Martha Argerich' the pattern of most orchestral concerts is broken by the appearance next on the bill of Schumann's First Violin Sonata with Renaud Capuçon and Argerich.
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3 Comments 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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.
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