By Martha Elias. Hamburg, 23 June 2019.
5 out of 5 〽️
“Chopin is an unattainable love. His soul is difficult to touch.” Martha Argerich
“My mother is a supernatural being in touch with something beyond the reach of ordinary mortals; in fact, I’m the daughter of a Goddess.” Stephanie Argerich Blagojevic
As the second year of Martha Argerich’s Festival in Hamburg unfolds, the audience is once again witness to the profound and unparalleled virtuosity of the Queen of the Piano – as especially her Argentinian countrymen care to call her.
A prolific career, an alluring performer, and a vital artist, who tirelessly has delivered her interpretations to the public for the last seven decades since she made her debut at the age of eight playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 (1949). Her fame and widely recognised international succes came at age 24, when she won the International Chopin Piano Competition in Poland, at age 24 (1965). Ever after she has continued her path to live by and for her artistic expression having received countless honours and awards, with countless piano concerts all over the globe, and with a brand attached to her name which stands for uniqueness, earnestness and sublime mastery of the piano technique.
Photo: Dick De Marsico. Martha Argerich, age 24.
The concert was held on the midsummer night, 23 June 2019, as a central part of the – now extended – ten-day-festival in Hamburg, where Martha Argerich (1941) is sure to return to in the summer of 2020 to share her art, her dedication, and also a piece of her heart and soul with every note she plays in her own sort of enticing and oblique way. And a maelstrom it is to attend to one of her concerts, indeed. Whirling tunes, circulating fluidly in space and time all at once.
Placed on the stage, humble, collected, present, and yet floating above, immersed in a section of time, where nothing but her intention to become one with the music exists. More than irresistible, her piano sound takes us on a flight, as well as compels upon us and summons all the magic of classical music we, as spectators, hope may prevail forever.
With a brand attached to her name which stands for uniqueness, earnestness and sublime mastery of the piano technique.
The concert was held in the exquisite Neo-Baroque concert hall Laeiszhalle (1908), placed on Neustadt – an exclusive inner-city district of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The programme was well-framed with the Symphoniker Hamburg masterly directed by renowned French conductor, Sylvain Cambreling, and included the dramatic expressiveness of Webern’s Passacaglia in D-Moll op. 1 für Orchester with the eminent interaction of Argerich, then she went on to perform the intense lyrical piece by Prokofjew, Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 3 C-Dur op. 26, and finally the outstanding Hamburgian philharmonic delivered Tschaikowsky’s Piotr I, evoking an existential combat with the forces of destiny.
Photo: Martha Argerich from https://www.onandofftherecord.com/martha-argerich-part-2/. Photo: Sylvain Cambreling by Marco Borggreve.
Placed on the stage, humble, collected, present, and yet floating above, immersed in a section of time, where nothing but her intention to become one with the music exists. More than irresistible, her piano movements take us on a flight, as well as compels upon us and summons all the magic in classical music we hope may prevail forever.
The centre piece of the concert – played on a Steinway & Sons latest generation grand piano – was snappy, playful and highly spirited. Her subtle humming, delicate body movements and sharp take on the three movements of Prokofjew’s concerto for piano conveyed the very essence of the acclaimed piece, where octaves were sat seamlessly, clearly and impeccably. She exudes lightfullness, inner force, and a contagious joy as she delivers her interpretations, showing an unprecedented devotion to the piano instrument and her audience equally.
Photo: Martha Elias
Needless to mention that both conductor and pianist received countless standing ovations which compelled them to reappear on stage. However, it was but Argerich who was summoned six times to receive the deserved applause as the audience seemed hungry for yet another piece by Argerich, and then she delivered a piece by Scarlatti, Sonata in D minor K141, which she executed effortlessly, albeit the ample demands therein intended due to the onerous brisk tempos and hand-crossing technique.
An eerie musical event in the city where water flows as does the maelstrom from a soulful pianist.
Photo: Begoña Hervas. Triumphal entry of the Queen of the Piano sided by Mauricio Vallina, at the final reception during Martha Argerich’s Festival in Hamburg, 2019.