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Beethoven, Bizet & Shostakovich

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19
Bizet: Symphony in C
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor for piano, trumpet & strings, Op. 35

Martha Argerich (piano) & David Guerrier (trumpet)
Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Gábor Takács-Nagy

Verbier Festival, Switzerland, 2009/2010

Ideale Audience International: 3079564 blu-ray

For each and every one of these youthful works, this sensational live recording, released for Martha Argerich's 70th birthday this month, offers as fine and vital a performance as I've ever heard or that you are likely to.

The Beethoven has a lightness which probably owes something to the unnamed Steinway piano engineer who set up the instrument; I've never enjoyed it so much. The symphony, which disappeared, after the 17 year old Bizet composed it in 1855 until its rediscovery in 1933, has been a firm favourite of mine since Beecham made it one of his.

Gábor Takács-Nagy, founding member of the Takács Quartet (and to become Manchester Camerata's Music Director in September) makes marvellous music in Verbier with the young Festival Chamber Orchestra. Smiles are the order of the day. They are all of them a delight to watch and I challenge any CD collector to deny that this DVD has more to offer than any sound only recording.

A certain disc of the year for us, it will repay regular re-playings and will entrance all your guests without palling on repetition.

Just one oddity; don't try to navigate Chapters or you won't find the Bizet... Navigation options are limited and similar difficulties have been experienced with some other blu-ray DVDs, e.g. Unitel Classics/C major's Les Troyens.
Readers' observations would be welcomed.

Peter Grahame Woolf