Arensky, Dvorak, Janacek, Mozart, Piazolla, Pletnev, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Saint-Saens, Schumann, Shostakovich: Live from the Lugano Festival 2008: works by Mozart, Schumann, Arensky, Saint-SaÃ«ns, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, JanáÄek, DvoÅ™ák, Piazolla, Rav
It’s endearing that Martha Argerich should open this gathering of her extended musical family with something very close to home: in a duet with her ex-husband Stephen Kovacevich, she delivers Mozart’s Andante and Variations in G, K501 with such pearlised perfection that we are instantly drawn into her surprising musical world.
One of the biggest surprises this time is a Fantasia elvetica composed by Mikhail Pletnev in celebration of his new abode in Lucerne: conducted by the composer and starring Argerich and Alexander Mogilevsky at the piano, this orchestral work in ‘light classical’ mode makes a spirited and charming addition to the repertoire.
Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 8 was written when he was 17, and its full-blown Romanticism only half-cloaks a very different sound-world impatient to reveal itself. Rachmaninov wrote his Suite No. 1 in G minor, Op. 5 when only 20: the final bells go on a bit, but the first and second movements are studded with beautiful effects.
Janácek’s Concertino for piano plus a gamey mix of strings, woodwind, and brass dwells in his usual anthropomorphised animal kingdom, and makes another lovely trouvaille, as do the Piazzolla arrangements for piano and cello; I have never heard such a furious Libertango.
Bonnes bouches by Ravel (Introduction and Allegro), Saint-Saëns (Scherzo, Op. 87), and Dvoπák (four Slavonic Dances) allow these brilliant soloists to shine in constantly changing permutations: the whole thing is a feast. Michael Church