Hats off to Martha Argerich

Martha! She is eighty now but is she thinking about retirement? No way! On the contrary, she is still making new recordings, and knowing her, I expect her to keep stealing the show with her performances all over the world. For example look at the DG-cd with her interpretation of Debussy’s ‘Fantasy for piano and orchestra’. She has never recorded this work before, so it is a first.

She plays it in her own unique and inimitable way: a bit boisterous, with many colour nuances and demanding all attention. Center stage all of the time! The Barenboim-led Staatskappele Berlin is no more than just a decent accompanist to the real star. Which I don’t mind.

In ‘La Mer’, Barenboim loses me a bit. Used as I am to more impressionistic ‘brush strokes’, I am frightened a bit by the sheer violence of the sea. But well: it is surely a matter of taste and interpretation.

As for the violin sonata, played by Barenboim’s son Michael, I have heard it better. Not that it is bad, but it lacks the mysticism that I appreciate so much in other recordings. Try Shlomo Mintz with Yefim Bronfman:

Kian Soltani also does not quite convince me in the cello sonata. And since it is Barenboim and not Argerich playing the piano in both works, the cover of the CD is a bit misleading

Claude Debussy
Fantaisie pour piano et orchestre L 73; Violin Sonata in G minor, L. 148; Cello Sonata in D Minor, L. 135; La Mer, L. 109
Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim (piano), Michael Barenboim (violin), Kian Soltani (cello)
DG 74797990

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