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Paul E. Robinson
La Scena Musicale, November 2009

On this DVD recorded at concerts given at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland in 2007 and 2008 the highlights for me were an intense performance of the Grieg Cello Sonata by Argerich and Mischa Maisky, and an exciting and probing Shostakovich Quintet with Argerich, Maisky, Joshua Bell, Henning Kraggerud and Yuri Bashmet. At one point Maisky brought his bow down with such passion I thought he was going to saw his cello in half! Argerich smudged a few notes here and there but played with such power and exhilaration it didn’t matter in the slightest.

Elsewhere there is a wonderful performance of Lutoslawski’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini with Argerich and Gabriel Montero, a young protégé well-known in Montreal. A recent visitor to Montreal and the Knowlton Festival, Stephen Kovacevich, plays some four-hand Mozart with Argerich. The young French violinist Renaud Capuçon is not quite a match in Bartók’s Sonata No. 1 for Gidon Kremer, Argerich’s frequent partner in such repertoire, but he is very good. All in all, this is about as good as it gets for those who love inspired music making at the
highest level.

Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, October 2009

The music captured on this DVD is from concerts at the Verbier (Switzerland) Music Festival in July of 2008. Martha Argerich is the center of this little solar system, with star performers as her guests. She starts the proceedings with a masterly rendition of Bach’s 2nd Partita in C minor, BWV 826. Stephen Kovacevich than joins her as secondo in Mozart’s Andante and Five Variations, K.501 for piano four-hands. In the Grieg Sonata for Cello & Piano, she is joined by Mischa Maisky. This is heady stuff, highly passionate Romantic music into which the artists dig with gusto…The guest in the Bartok Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano is Renaud Capucon…followed by Lutoslawski’s popular Variations on a Theme of Paganini—the second pianist (Gabriela Montero) matching split-second virtuosity with Argerich. Perhaps the most attractive work on the program is Shostakovich’s great Piano Quintet, Op.87. Joining the ensemble were Joshua Bell, 1st violin, Henning Kraggerud, 2nd, and violist Yuri Bashmet, along with the perspiring Mischa Maisky.

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5:13:02 PM, 13 October 2015
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