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Culture Watch: Martha Argerich at the Verbier Festival

July 13, 2011 | 10:00 am

ImagesCALH01V2 Martha Argerich at the Verbier Festival

(Idéale Audience)

The Verbier Festival in the Swiss Alps is one of the places where Martha Argerich is least likely to cancel. In 2009 she was on hand to play Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto; last summer she returned for Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto. Both are works she has recorded repeatedly. But these live performances, captured on DVD, with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra of young players conducted with a flair by Gábor Takács-Nagy, are new reasons for wonder.

Argerich, who is 70 this year, has lost none of her verve or sparkle. She is alive to every second. The last movement of the Shostakovich is just about as rhythmically exciting as anything you are likely encounter this summer. A bonus is Bizet’s agreeable Symphony in C sounding, in fresh hands, like even it must be seen as a life-giving experience.


More Culture Watch picks from Los Angeles Times writers

-- Mark Swed