Martha Argerich Concert – Manchester Confidential

Posted on July 12, 2013

Martha Argerich
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

RARELY have I seen an orchestra applaud a soloist so rapturously as when Martha Argerich took her several bows. It’s a measure of the esteem in which the Argentine-born pianist is held, not just for her virtuosity but for her capacity to galvanise an ensemble.

That certainly happened with the Manchester Camerata across all three movements of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 as the inspirational Argerich, by turns rapt, playful and occasionally unleashing octaves like steel traps, led from the front.

The performance was utterly breathtaking – one of those special events that MIF pledges to unleash. The Largo, in particular, was a serene, swirling masterclass.
The presence of one of music’s true greats on a Manchester stage owes much to Camerata music director Gabor Takacs-Nagy, a long-time associate of Argerich, now 72. The elfin Hungarian opened the concert with his fellow-countryman Bela Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste and drew a taut interpretation of this spiky, nocturnal piece where the piano is mostly used for percussive rather than melodic purposes.

Keyboard Wunderkind David Kadouch showed his remarkable talent here and in the concluding piece, the dramatic, tormenting Lamentate by Arvo Part. Argerich in such form seemed an impossible act to follow and so it proved.

Another time, another place, maybe, but my concentration wavered. My head was still full of Beethoven’s astonishing, helter skelter Rondo and the flashing fingers of a truly great pianist.

Manchester Confidential – Martha Argerich concert, Neil Sowerby, reviewer – Manchester Confidential