Review Roundup: Martha Argerich Returns To Carnegie Hall After Nine Years

Review Roundup: Martha Argerich Returns To Carnegie Hall After Nine Years

Review Roundup: Martha Argerich Returns To Carnegie Hall After Nine Years

Martha Argerich returned to Carnegie Hall on October 20 after nearly a decade of absence. She performed with Rome's Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, with musical direction by Sir Antonio Pappano, who also conducted. The concert will be repeated on October 25 at 8pm at the Kennedy Center's Concert Hall.

The program included Verdi's Sinfonia from Aida, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, and Respighi's Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. Three encores were played, which included Ravel's Laideronnette: Impératrice des Pagodes from Ma mère l'oye (Piano Four Hands), Sibelius's Valse Triste, Op. 44, No. 1, and Rossini's Allegro Vivace from William Tell Overture.

Let's see what the critics had to say!

Seth Colter Walls, The New York Times: In the first movement, Ms. Argerich vaulted with ease through some tricky ascents up the keyboard. But that was just an opening salvo: The second movement's variations revealed more of her range. When she made the turn from the romping third variation to the ruminative one that followed, she sounded equally in command of each mode... Even in that latter, most familiar of staples, this orchestra made the music more than simply habitable. They made it vibrant.

Jennifer Gersten, Bach Track: With seemingly no physical effort, Argerich at every phrase drew each of the music's characters into stark relief. She handles the piano as one might handle a small bird, with weightlessness and watchful poise. Though renowned for her quick tempi, she also played with mesmerizing slowness: at one quiet, solo articulation of the theme in the second movement, she lent each note such a particularity that time seemed to wait for her to decide when to continue.

Richard Sasanow, BroadwayWorld: After the short, almost pastoral opening of the first movement, the work turns percussive and somewhat modernist, but Argerich took it all brilliantly in stride. She knows the piece needs no heavy breathing and she seemed almost relaxed and playful with her old friend Prokofiev... At one with the orchestra, Pappano brought out a true portrait of the city (or at least what it was like a century ago). Filled with color and sunlight, the two pieces made for a delightful ending to the concert, though for many, Argerich on Prokofiev was the name of the game--and what a game it was!

Photo: Chris Lee