Picture credit: Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Redferns
Artillery Row

The ultimate collaborator

Sergio Tiempo: Hommage (Avanti)


Has there ever been a more collaborative pianist than Martha Argerich? Not in the clumsy modern sense where the term is used as a substitute for “piano accompanist” but in the literal meaning of a pianist who does everything in her power to help others to fulfil dreams, careers and good deeds. Martha is the ultimate collaborator.

On this album, Martha joins a Venezuelan protege Sergio Tiempo in the Schubert F-minor Fantasy for four hands, a work she has never recorded before and which, inevitably, she endows with flashes of wit and light. The most famous recording of this compelling Fantasy is by Sviatoslav Richter and Benjamin Britten, a dialogue of divinities. Martha, never to be outshone, manages to lead the work from the second piano. It’s an arresting interpretation of a brilliant piece of banter, absolutely not to be missed. If there was an award for Track of the Year, this might be it.

Tiempo’s other partners on this varied compilation album include Mischa Maisky in the Chopin cello sonata, Nelson Freire in a Brazilian fragment and Karin Lechner in a four-hand reduction of the Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings. But it’s Martha who sets the tone of enlightened collaboration — a way of making music in the midst of modern life in which all participants are generous and equal.

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