Happy Birthday Martha and Alberto a page turners view of a remarkable occasion .
Wonderful birthday celebration at the Wigmore Hall last night for the joint birthday concert of Martha Argerich and her old friend Alberto Portugheis – their 75 Anniversary. And what energy they both have with nearly four hours of rehearsal before the two hours of the concert.
Fortified in between with only a cup of coffee it was a memorable occasion in which two old friends from their long distant youth in Buenos Aires ,shared their love and enjoyment of making music together with a packed out Wigmore Hall.
Two fine Steinways side by side for the two piano works on the programme Mozart Sonata in D and the Brahms Haydn Variations and a single piano was enough for the two duets of Rachmaninov Six Pieces op 11 and Ravel Ma Mere l’Oye . To an enraptured audience they offered two encores :Oblivion by Piazzolla in the arrangement of another old friend Eduardo Hubert and Milhaud’s Braziliana from Scaramouche. Two old friends as page turners completed the festive atmosphere on this very special occasion
Wonderful to hear the exchange between two old friends in the exquisite second movement of the Mozart and the real fun they had in the outer movements . Some beautiful sounds through a very special use of the sustaining pedal in their magical performance of Ravel’s Ma Mere L’Oye suite. And the Rachmaninov played with all the pathos that the twenty one year old composer was able to convey in these very atmospheric six pieces.
And like all good old friends they shared equally the two scores Martha taking the top in Ravel and Alberto the top in the Rachmaninov.
Virtuosity abounding in a rousing performance of the Haydn Variations by Brahms in which Martha Argerich took on the first piano showing all her remarkable gifts that have made her one of the most loved and sought after musicians of our time.
Our remarkable Alberto,nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize no less,showed all his innate musicality in this heartwarmingly affectionate conversation shared with all their adoring friends in the wonderfully welcoming space that is the Wigmore Hall.
Festivities with friends long into the night completed this memorable encounter of two friends of a life time in music.