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Peter Burwasser
Fanfare, September 2009

Martha Argerich does not have a great deal of Mozart in her repertoire, and based on this wonderfully alert and passionate performance of the Piano Concerto No. 20, that is a loss to the music-loving public. Certainly, her vision of the mighty score can be termed Romantic, as she plays it with the same dynamic range and rhythmic freedom as she does Beethoven, but the spirit of the music is fully engaged. Her note-to-note alertness, the extraordinarily nuanced phrasing, and that ever present intensity make this music spring to life. And even if Argerich’s approach is to be termed old-fashioned, it contains a number of fine points, diverting from the score, that puts her in good company with period-instrument specialists who attempt to conjure the spontanaiety that contemporaries of Mozart observed in the original performances. Seeing her play on video, it is impossible not to be impressed by the astonishing focus of her artistry.

She is well supported by the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, as conducted by Viennese-born and -trained Christian Arming. …This new band is a healthy antidote, showing off lilting rhythmic panache and joyous, expressive sound. © 2009 Fanfare Read complete review

Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, June 2009

What a feast! The incomparable Martha Argerich first regales us with a deeply moving performance of the D minor concerto, K.466, and is joined by the two Guldas, Paul and Rico (sons of the late, great Friedrich Gulda) in the Concerto in F Major, K.242 for three pianos. Great fun is had by all here, especially in the extended cadenzas of the finale, based on the motif from the Rondo of K.466. Another brotherly high-trapeze act was next performed when Renaud Capucon, violin and Gautier Capucon, ‘cello joined Martha in the third movement of the Beethoven Triple Concerto, Op. 56. The virtuosity and sheer energy of the playing in this delicious performance in itself is worth the price of the disc! One has to wonder, though, about this: did they perform the entire concerto, but for some reason used only the last movement? Argerich also caresses the Mozart Adagio in E, K.261 and the Rondo in C, K.373. In a word: a great treasure!

David Patrick Stearns
The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 2009

Her reading of Mozart’s dark Piano Concerto No. 20 K. 466 never steps out of the piece’s classical framework, but is full of eloquent, rhythmic flexibility and articulation—everything you want in a mature Argerich performance. Much of the rest is nice for a viewing or two—Mozart’s Concerto for Three Pianos with Gulda’s sons Paul and Rico, a movement from the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Capucon brothers, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 32.

John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, April 2009

This magnificent live concert, taped in Tokyo in 2005, provides a fine opportunity to see and hear the performer some of us regard as the finest female classical pianist and perhaps even the finest living pianist period.  The opportunity is special because the legendary Argerich seldom performs as a soloist, cancels concerts frequently and aside from her annual chamber music festival in Lugano, Switzerland, sometimes remains off the stage for lengthy periods of time.

This was a special concert honoring the teacher of the Argentine pianist, the great Friedrich Gulda, who passed away in 2000.  Gulda wanted to die on the same day his musical hero Mozart had died, and did.  This all-Mozart (except for one selection) program features—playing with Argerich in the three-piano concerto—two of Gulda’s three sons.  Both are well known in Japan, as was Gulda himself, and the Japanese orchestra is conducted by its young music director who is also Austrian (as was Gulda)—Christian Arming.  Yet another brothers act is represented by the violin and cello soloists in the Beethoven movement and the Adagio and Rondo of Mozart—the Capucon brothers, who frequently perform with Argerich in her chamber ensembles.

The Mozart Concerto No. 20 is a standout in the literature as being one of the composer’s most dramatic, partly due to his departure from the norm in writing it in a minor key. Argerich is superb in the work and the young orchestra musicians support her performance beautifully. For the three piano concerto the three Steinways are nested very snugly with one another, which facilitates visual communication among the three pianists, but minimizes a more interesting spatial separation of the three pianos.

The Rondo all polacca closing movement from the Beethoven Triple Concerto may seem an odd departure in the program, but it presents a chance for Argerich and the two Capucon brothers to shine in their solo parts. The Adagio and Rondo display the dazzling virtuosity of violinist Renaud Capucon even more than had the concerto movement.  The closing Mozart symphony will be something of a surprise to many listeners.  It is only ten minutes long—shorter than the Beethoven movement—with its three brief movements played without pause. Yet it uses the full orchestra and has plenty of dramatic verve.  It’s more like an Italian overture to an opera.

The videotaping (by NHK) is excellent, with good variation of long shots and closeups, and its hi-def resolution transferred well to the standard DVD. The DTS surround is natural and involving, especially so in the three piano concerto, in spite of the closeness of the three instruments.  The very short Behind the Scenes clips are also worth seeing. Anyone interested in the art of Argerich will want to have this concert DVD.

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