Private concerts at Daniel Barenboim’s and at Martha Argerich’s. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) : Trio No. 5 in D major op. 70 n° 1 “of the Spirits”. Daniel Barenboim, piano; Michael Barenboim, violin; Kian Soltani, cello. Ludwig van Beethoven : 7 Variations on “Bei Männern, weiche Liebe fühlen” by “La Flûte enchantée” by Mozart in B flat major WoO46. Robert Schumann (1810-1856) : Fantasy pieces op. 73. Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) : Introduction and Brillante Polonaise in C major op. 3 ; Sonata for cello and piano in G minor, op. 65: Long. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) : Four songs on. 70 n ° 2: Lerchengesang op. 70 n ° 2. Martha Argerich, piano; Mischa Maisky, cello. 2020/21. No notice. Subtitles in French and English. 43.00 (Barenboim). 52.00 (Argerich). A Bel Air BAC 189 DVD.
Two documentaries invite you to share a moment of musical intimacy with Daniel Barenboim and with Martha Argerich, in the living room of their respective homes, in Berlin, then in Geneva. No direct link between these two films, except, as an interviewer, Annie Dutoit (°1970), teacher, journalist, actress and daughter of Martha Argerich and conductor Charles Dutoit. Each sequence offers pages of chamber music with familiar partners, interspersed with brief conversations by Annie Dutoit with one or the other principal virtuoso. The music lover who intends to draw from it new or of primary importance information will be disappointed: the exchanges are in reality a fabric of platitudes which bring nothing new, the interviewer’s questions being generally quite superficial and little innovative.
In the first documentary, before the interpretation of the Trio n° 5 of Beethoven and between each of his movements, Barenboim, who speaks (very well) in French or German, evokes vague memories of childhood, speaks of his interest in philosophy, of our society where it is more often of the rights of each person than of individual responsibility in the face of the community, or of his emotion as a musical interpreter. He declares to be an optimistic personality and cites an anecdote around Arthur Rubinstein who suggested banishing the conjunction “if…” when talking about happiness, this being always possible. Some considerations on the work of Beethoven chosen for the occasion are added to the picture. All this is not of the highest interest. Fortunately, the essential is musical: with his son, the violinist Michael Barenboim (°1985), and the cellist Kian Soltani (°1992), Daniel Barenboim plays the ghost trio, of which the three interpreters give a supple and lyrical version which makes the pianist say that, in the end, it is music that is ideally suited to the “chamber” dimensions of the living room of his house where he receives the spectator.
For her part, for the second documentary, Martha Argerich has chosen a single partner: Mischa Maïsky, which will not surprise anyone, the complicity and connivance between the two artists being a long-standing fact, underlined from the start of the film. The virtuoso and her daughter are side by side on a sofa; their dialogue is rather stuffy. Martha Argerich, who speaks French, in fact delivers very little in her remarks, sometimes whispered and for which you have to listen carefully. We will retain one or another reflection on her relationship to time (she wants to live in the present), on the fact that she does not feel in her place when she is awarded academic honors, on learning continual that constitutes music, on its incessant search for new stimulating horizons, as well as on the need for joy, even enthusiasm. We are also entitled to elusive childhood memories that are not very enlightening. The music comes, this time again, before the information. The works played with Maïsky, whether by Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin or Brahms, have been well established by the duo for years and are marked by a real common sharing.
Do not try to find in this DVD what it does not offer. It is not about constructed portraits, solidly articulated and rigorously prepared. The only interest of these two films resides, let us repeat it, in the musical interpretations. However, the quality of the images leaves something to be desired, the sound being on the other hand correct within the framework of this project, which we will reserve in priority for the most unconditional fans of Daniel Barenboim and/or Martha Argerich. The overall rating takes into account the lack of interest of the interviews.
Overall score: 6