The 14th year of the Lugano Progetto (which sadly is about to be abandoned) sees Martha Argerich making music with the likes of cellist Gautier Capuçon and violinist Ilya Gringolts.
How does one create a balanced snapshot of almost four hours of first-rate music making? Every performance is impressive and the sheer rarity and originality of much of the repertoire is admirable: a charming B Minor Piano Quintet by Ferdinand Ries (Beethoven’s friend), with the same instrumental combination as Schubert’s Trout Quintet, Brahms’ late, autumnal Clarinet Trio, Op. 114 and Horn Trio (with viola replacing horn – it works), Turina’s Second Piano Trio, all infectious Andalucian rhythms and shimmering effects.
The sole orchestral offering is the Bacalov Porteña for two pianos and orchestra (Porteña being the word for native inhabitants of Buenos Aires) with Argerich herself and Eduardo Hubert as soloists. She also partners her former partner, Stephen Kovacevich, in Debussy’s En Blanc et Noir. Even the excerpts from Philip Glass’s dance opera Les Enfants Terribles arranged for three pianos scrubs up well. The last work featured is a selection of four dances from Ginastera’s ballet Estancia, including the famous Malambo.
For me, the highlight was the gorgeous, silky Poulenc Sonata for two pianos – a perfect example of what the French call “cinq a sept” music (5 until 7 music) when haut bourgeois businessmen visit their mistresses.