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Just as it says on the tin, this two-disc set presents Martha Argerich performing with guests entirely of her own choosing, live at the 2007 Verbier Festival. She appears as soloist, duettist, duo-player and pianist in chamber ensembles, making the whole package self-recommending for Argerich fans and, hopefully, enticing listeners to a world beyond solo piano-playing.

The Beethoven Trio makes for a dramatic start, dynamics varying from explosive to ethereal within the first minute. The miraculous slow-movement ppps amply explain the work’s nickname: violinist Julian Rachlin and cellist Mischa Maisky aid and abet with relish.

Schumann’s Kinderszenen start with exquisite tenderness, though tigerish sfs later on would scare the average child, and 'Traumerei' risks sounding mannered. Lang Lang joins Argerich for an autumnal Schubert duet Rondo and Ma mere l’oye. The Ravel, soporifically closing the first disc, is – despite exquisite moments – its only disappointment. Fine as a souvenir of the evening, its over-pedalling, arbitrary point-making and slack ensemble nevertheless make it sound as if added to the programme at the last minute.

Listeners in non-festive mood might feel the Arpeggione starts Disc 2 sleepily: even an Allegro moderato should surely move a little more than this. Tempos pick up thereafter, and violist Bashmet is superb throughout. Bartók’s First Violin Sonata is relentlessly hard, in both senses: Argerich and Renaud Capuçon are magnificently barbaric. Indefatigably, Argerich then joins Gabriela Montero for some uninhibited Lutosławski, a stimulating climax (followed by an ingenious encore) to what must have been an unforgettable evening.

MICHAEL ROUND Read the full review on Agora Classica


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