This was one of the highlights of the Barbican presents season and it not only kept up but exceeded the expectations. Maisky and Argerich have been long term partners on stage and recordings and we all knew how well they worked together. But how well the young Janise Jansen would fit the team was the unknown bit here. But hell, we all known how Martha leads her chamber music making bringing out the best from each of her partners.
Nice to see that there are still people recording CDs and doing live presentations. Even more when the album combines nice fresh views on traditional repertoire with new music that deserves to be listened. The Delta Piano Trio members are all Dutch but they studied at Salzburg. They visited London for a musical residency and lived on the Austrian Cultural Forum premises, and that’s why the presentation in that very same building was very familiar.
The blockbuster on the title suggests that this concert was one of those intended for a full house night. And it almost got it. On the other hand, for the non casual concert goer another Rachmaninov 2nd piano concerto or another Shostakovich 5th symphony need more ingredients to make it appealing. And here the pepper and salt were a couple of respectful musicians: young American Chinese piano star George Li and the most powerful conductor in China: Long Yu.
All Russian composers, except for the Britten but all Russian themed works. Beforehand it was a very interesting programme with new (as newly heard) works, works of stunning beauty, not-so-frequent-works and spectacular works that are better listened live. It started with Stravinsky’s Funeral Song, one work just rediscovered and “premiered” less than one year ago in Russia. It was a very nice work, less stravinskian than expected and maybe too academic but full of great ideas.