May 21, 2014

Live from Lugano 2013: Martha Argerich and her bright young things, out now!

The celebrated series of annual live recordings captures the spirit of Europe’s most exciting chamber festival.

The Martha Argerich legend was born when the pianist's white-hot virtuosity led her to claim First Prize at the prestigious International Chopin Competition in 1965, as a devil-may-care 24-year-old. And 24 may well be the average age of the young musicians at the threshold of international stardom that she gathers around her for the Martha Argerich Project, founded in 2002 to enable tomorrow’s legends to perform alongside today’s.

The idyllic Swiss lakeside city of Lugano fosters a close bond between the chamber music players themselves, and between the ensembles and their audience. Just as the young artists are inspired and nurtured by their formidable Argentinian host and her esteemed guests, often the mentors have just as much to learn from the newcomers’ fresh approach.

The Martha Argerich & Friends annual live CD recordings of these musical encounters have become as beloved and anticipated as the festival itself. The 2013 highlights are available now in a three-disc set, featuring the crowd favourites Carnival of the Animals (two pianos, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet and percussion) and Offenbach’s efforvescent Gaîté parisienne for three pianos. Argerich herself turns in a stunning performance in Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with the festival’s Orchestra della Svizzera italiana. The ‘friends’ include Argerich’s long-time chamber partner, cellist Mischa Maisky, brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon and fresh faces to watch: violinist and Queen Elisabeth Competition winner Andrey Baranov, and the pianists Thomás Alegre, Alessandro Mazzamuto and Maria Meerovitch.

With summer just around the corner, the 2014 festival is heating up for June 10-30 to welcome old friends and new: Maisky and the Capuçons, pianists Nicholas Angelich and Stephen Kovacevich, and the 20-year-old French cellist Edgar Moreau, recently signed to Erato. As Nicholas Kenyon wrote in The Observer: “There are not many reliable annual treats among classical CDs these days, but the series of live recordings from Martha Argerich's Lugano festival are now a highlight of each year.” For your guaranteed front-row seat, year after year, all you have to do is press play.

Live from Lugano 2013 available now.