Martha Argerich & Mischa Maisky

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Dvorak,Franck & Shostakovich,Shchedrin
LABELS: Accentus
WORKS: Dvorák: Scherzo capriccioso in D flat; Shchedrin: Double Concerto for piano, cello and orchestra; Franck: Cello Sonata in A; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9 in E flat
PERFORMER: Martha Argerich (piano), Mischa Maisky (cello); Lucerne SO/Neeme Järvi (Lucerne, 2011)
CATALOGUE NO: ACC 20224 (NTSC system; dts 5.1; 16:9 picture format)

It would be fairer if the great Neeme Järvi shared equal star billing with Mischa Maisky and Martha Argerich on the DVD cover, but take it from me that everything in this concert is on the same musical level. Performance-wise, that is, because the Shchedrin Concerto, a unique double-offering for the Romantic sensibilities of cellist and pianist, isn’t altogether memorable.
There’s plenty of contrast: the misalliance of the two soloists, who only really come together in the climbing apotheosis; the cello in extreme registers; the piano’s toccata mania; and all of it done with the highest artistry. Argerich is superb in every nuance. But unforgettable? I think not, though I’ll watch it again after the superb little quarter-hour documentary expertly directed by Maria Stodtmeier, in which it’s hard not to like Shchedrin’s gentlemanly demeanour. It also explains the presence of the Franck Sonata, in which Argerich sweeps on from each movement and Maisky drives Romanticism to the limits. Their interpretation won’t be to all tastes.
As for the partnership between conductor and orchestra, the Lucerne Symphony is hardly comparable with the superband that sweeps into the city every year for the festival under Claudio Abbado’s baton, but Dvoπák’s colours shimmer. There’s also an iron fist in the neo-classical velvet glove of Shostakovich’s Ninth. Järvi’s a grand master, using economical gestures like his equal, Gennady Rozhdestvensky. David Nice