August brings a new batch of (six) titles in the Virtuoso series. Building the range of recordings with big symphonies, key concertos, influential choral works and appealing chamber music. All of the titles in the series offer excellent recordings, famous artists, strong visuals, innovative booklet notes and best-selling composers. They tick every box to make serious classical music as easy and approachable as can be, with integrity and without compromise.
Since 2002 Martha Argerichs Progetto at the Lugano Festival has brought together many notable artists for memorable concerts of chamber and orchestral music. This deluxe 4-CD set offers a rich selection of live concerto recordings, all with Martha Argerich and all first-time releases. They include a number of works new to her Deutsche Grammophon discography (Mozart, Prokofiev, Bartok and Poulenc) in addition to scintillating performances of Schubert, Brahms and Milhaud all CD premieres of pieces absolutely new to her repertoire.
Martha Argerich has few peers in this repertoire today, and in terms of sheer spontaneity in performance she's simply in a class of her own. Chopin's concertos are early works, and they always have taken their share of abuse owing to the composer's somewhat clunky orchestration. Of course, no one ever has had anything to say against the piano part, which is marvelous and which dominates the proceedings to the point where the orchestra is pretty irrelevant anyway. What makes these performances so special is that Dutoit not only stays in the background, where he belongs, but actually manages to offer the kind of intimate support that allows Argerich to literally do whatever she wants. (David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com)
The duo of cellist Mischa Maisky and pianist Martha Argerich is known for the virtuoso flair they bring to their performances. This album was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. The ensemble succeeds at matching each other in every way, lending a unified and organic feeling that make it hard to believe at times that this is a *live* recording. The acoustic quality is also outstanding, although you may wish it were not so good when Maisky's loud breathing and foot-tapping get out of hand (particularly in the Debussy).