Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Dvo‡k, Shostakovich, Prokofiev & Tchaikovsky

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms,Dvorak,Prokofiev & Tchaikovsky,Schubert,Schumann,Shostakovich
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Martha Argerich and Friends: live from the Lugano Festival
WORKS: Chamber music by Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Dvoák, Shostakovich, Prokofiev & Tchaikovsky
PERFORMER: Martha Argerich, Yefim Bronfman, Walter Delahunt, Lilya Zilberstein (piano), Renaud Capuçon, Maxim Vengerov (violin), etc
CATALOGUE NO: 476 8712
Recorded live at the Lugano Festival over three summers between

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2002-04, not everything in this collection is an unqualified success. Argerich is one of the all-time great Schumann players, and although she makes a stunning contribution to the Piano Quintet, first violin Dora Schwarzberg rather lets the side down with her somewhat scratchy attack and over-indulgent portamentos. Similarly in the glorious Violin Sonata Argerich continually takes the breath away with her bewitching artistry, whereas violinist Géza Hosszu-Legocky lacks the necessary projection and tonal richness to make this music come surging off the page.

Happily Argerich’s other collaborations are more equally balanced, including an engaging romp through Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony with Yefim Bronfman (in a piano duo arrangement by Rikuya Terashima), and an utterly enchanting Nutcracker Suite with Mirabela Dina (arranged by Nicolas Economu). Finest of the Argerich performances is Shostakovich’s haunting Second Trio with Maxim Vengerov and Gautier Capuçon, which is truly a dialogue of artistic equals. Vengerov is also on stunning form in Brahms’s D minor Violin Sonata with Lilya Zilberstein, who challenges her partner to give a far more emotionally responsive reading than the machismo cut-and-thrust of his Warners outing with Daniel Barenboim.

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Yefim Bronfman does the honours for the Schubert B flat Trio with the gifted Capuçon brothers, Renaud and Gautier, who possess just the right kind of lucidly flexible tonal transparency to make this treasurable score trip the light fantastic. Arguably finest of all is the Dvoák E flat Piano Quartet, in which the Capuçons are joined by pianist Walter Delahunt and violist Lida Chen, in a bracing performance that galvanises the attention from first to last. Julian Haylock