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Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, November 2011

Marvellous Martha brings two party pieces into her filmography

One can only marvel at the depth of expression, spontaneity, sense of discovery and playfulness [Argerich] brings to this early work, its first-movement cadenza, written some years after the concerto itself, sounding even more stylistically anachronistic than usual. The encore, Scarlatti’s D minor Sonata, Kk141, with its machine-gun repeated notes, is another party piece and dispatched with daring nonchalance.

Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No 1, with the excellent trumpet soloist David Guerrier…is another favourite work new to the pianist’s filmography. The slow movement is beautifully done but of course it’s the high jinks of the tongue-in-cheek finale that brings the house down. Just when you think everyone is in top gear, the whole ensemble shifts up another notch—and then goes into overdrive. Thrilling stuff.

Throughout the two concertos, Gábor Takács-Nagy provides alert, precision support. His ever-present smile and benign platform manner encourage his young players to great heights. The Bizet Symphony skips along with all the requisite charm and lightness of touch.

Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, November 2011

ARGERICH, Martha: Live at the Verbier Festival (2009-2010) (NTSC) 3079568
ARGERICH, Martha: Live at the Verbier Festival (2009-2010) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 3079564

…Martha Argerich…gives these concertos—both staples of her repertoire—youthful, quick-tempered performances full of biting accents and sparklingly clear inner lines, producing kick-ass rhythms and a sizzling energy that keep you on the edge of your seat…

Robert Benson, August 2011

ARGERICH, Martha: Live at the Verbier Festival (2009-2010) (NTSC) 3079568
ARGERICH, Martha: Live at the Verbier Festival (2009-2010) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 3079564

Martha Argerich at her peak of performance…After a superlative performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (one of her favorites), she gives as elegant a reading as you will ever hear of a Scarlatti sonata. Then she is joined by trumpeter David Guerrier in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1—a virtuoso high-spirited romp for all concerned. Excitement diminishes a bit with the “bonus,” Bizet’s Symphony No. 1. Throughout, the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra is in fine form under conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy., July 2011

There is a good deal to enjoy as well in Martha Argerich: Live at Verbier Festival, although there is little reason to have the Argentine pianist’s performances on this DVD rather than on CD. There are actually two Verbier Festivals here: Argerich plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Scarlatti’s D minor sonata, Kk. 141, at the 2009 festival, and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the 2010 festival. The latter also includes Bizet’s Symphony in C, designated a “bonus” even though, without it, the DVD would barely last an hour (and even with it, it comes in at less than an hour and a half). Argerich (born 1941) is a fine performer who brings flair and understanding to everything she plays here, and the festival chamber orchestra backs her up well—although Gábor Takács-Nagy has nothing especially interesting to communicate in the Bizet. The performances are well done, the relaxed atmosphere of the festival comes through nicely, and the video direction (by Philippe Béziat in 2009 and Anaïs Spiro in 2010) is not overly intrusive. However, there is no particular rationale for owning these performances or this repertoire on DVD except as a souvenir, for those who attended the Verbier Festival in Switzerland or, perhaps, those who wished they were there.

Mark Swed
Los Angeles Times, July 2011

The Verbier Festival in the Swiss Alps is one of the places where Martha Argerich is least likely to cancel. In 2009 she was on hand to play Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto; last summer she returned for Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto. Both are works she has recorded repeatedly. But these live performances, captured on DVD, with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra of young players conducted with a flair by Gábor Takács-Nagy, are new reasons for wonder.

Argerich, who is 70 this year, has lost none of her verve or sparkle. She is alive to every second. The last movement of the Shostakovich is just about as rhythmically exciting as anything you are likely encounter this summer. A bonus is Bizet’s agreeable Symphony in C sounding, in fresh hands, like even it must be seen as a life-giving experience.

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5:58:49 PM, 10 October 2015
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