August 07, 2017

Warner Classics to release recordings from the final 'Martha Argerich & Friends'

The end of an era: the new triple album of chamber music from the Lugano Festival will be the last.

Chamber-music lovers around the world are lamenting a void in this year’s classical calendar. Due to discontinued funding, the Progetto Martha Argerich, with its festival held in Lugano (Switzerland) for the past 15 years, took its final bow with the 2016 edition. This marks the end of an era not only for the illustrious artists and rising stars who performed in this “showcase of superlative musicianship” (The Telegraph) year after year, but for the loyal fans and collectors of the ‘Martha Argerich & Friends’ live recordings.

Argerich’s final, historic Lugano festival, held from 7-30 June 2016, was the 15th edition and celebrated the legendary Argentinian pianist’s 75th birthday that month. Her special guests included pianists Stephen Kovacevich and Nicholas Angelich, violinist Renaud Capuçon and Argerich’s daughter Lyda Chen (viola), alongside many of her young protégés, among them the pianist siblings Sergio Tiempo and Karin Lechner.

Warner Classics’ triple-album collection of highlights, to be released in September 2017, captures the wide-ranging repertoire, intimate atmosphere and many brilliant performances from the festival’s swansong – perhaps the most remarkable being a rare Argerich solo Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit – which she has played live only twice in 33 years – alongside the same composer’s Piano Concerto in G Major with the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana.

Although the curtain has closed on Martha Argerich & Friends, the recordings will live on, as will the musical friendships forged within.

Praise for the Martha Argerich & Friends recordings:

“The releases of recordings from the Progetto Martha Argerich, the festival over which the great lady presides each June in the Swiss resort of Lugano, have become one of the most reliable annual fixtures in the CD calendar.” The Guardian, Martha Argerich & Friends 2015

“The festival has class written all over it and exudes more joy - and humour - than any comparable event known to me. –BBC Music Magazine

“The Progetto Martha Argerich…has become an annual event, and the recordings made there each year are eagerly anticipated. The music-making always has a tremendous energy and relaxed enjoyment about it, and there’s invariably something unexpected…In everything, though, there’s a sense of specialness, of off-the-cuff music-making of the highest class.” The Guardian, Martha Argerich & Friends 2014

“With each annual instalment of Martha Argerich's chamber music festival, you are plunged into a spontaneous ferment of music-making: few recordings capture so well the vivid energy of live performance.  The Guardian, Martha Argerich & Friends 2012

Also coming soon: Martha Argerich's new recording of Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals.

In addition to the final Lugano collection, Martha Argerich will appear on a second, highly anticipated album to be released on Warner Classics in September 2017:  a landmark new recording of Saint-Saëns’s beloved Carnival of the Animals for two pianos and ensemble, with acclaimed conductor-pianist Sir Antonio Pappano as her enchanting duo partner. These two fine representatives of the pianist species recorded in Rome with hand-picked soloists from Pappano’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – another example of Argerich in her element in a chamber music setting to cherish. The entire orchestra assembles under Pappano’s baton for another of Saint-Saëns’ most celebrated works, the magnificent ‘Organ’ Symphony, No 3, with Daniele Rossi as soloist.