Monday, March 15, 2010

Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich is almost as famous for her shunning of publicity as she is for her prodigious talent on the piano (reference this profile by Alex Ross). Born in Buenos Aires she might seem a natural as an interpreter of Piazzolla's music, but she is not. Her focus is the classical repertoire and one gets the impression that Piazzolla's music is not up to her standards. And, in a sense, I agree. Except for some very early compositions and several preludes to Adios Nonino, Piazzolla did not compose for the piano and no one has yet provided concert quality piano arrangements in the classical mode of his works. She does include three Piazzolla pieces in her portfolio and all three have just appeared on YouTube. The featured performance is of Tres minutos con la realidad but you may also be interested in viewing the related performance of Libertango and Oblivion.

All three were recorded at a Paris concert on March 7 of this year. All three were arranged by Eduardo Hubert, also an Argentine, and all three are performed as piano duets with Mr. Hubert. The video begins with a two and a half minute long piano stool chase which inexplicably was not edited out of the video. Unfortunately, the piano stool confusion is the most interesting part of the video. While Ms. Argerich's technical skills are apparent, the arrangements are uninspired and fail to capture the magic of Piazzolla's music. Tres minutos is the best of the three - the arrangements of Libertango and Oblivion approach awful. If Ms. Argerich is going to play Piazzolla, it is a shame she has attached herself to the arrangements of Mr. Hubert.

The same three pieces appear on the well received CD, Martha Argerich And Friends - Live From The Lugano Festival 2008, and hopefully come off better in that format.

Embedding has been disabled for this video so to view it you must click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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