Rub your eyes: Martha Argerich is the substitute

Rub your eyes: Martha Argerich is the substitute


norman lebrecht

April 16, 2017

We are used to others covering for Martha’s occasional cancellations, but this substitution may be unprecedented.

She has agreed, at three days’ notice, to take over for an unwell Maurizio Pollini at Renaud Capucon’s Easter festival in Aix-en-Provence.




  • John says:

    Pollini also pulled out of at least one recital (Amsterdam) last month.

  • Ricard de La Rosa says:

    Fabulous to be able to hear Mme. Argerich and a sad day to be deprived of Mr. Pollini. They are Two greats whom we will all miss …someday!

    • Sue says:

      I saw Pollini in Vienna in 2011 and was very unimpressed. He played the Schubert D960 on his own piano, It was rushed, hard-driven and uninspired. A truck was out the front with his name on it and that of his piano and I wondered if he’d taken up another profession!!

      • John says:

        Sorry you were disappointed. However, I think history will survive your assessment.

        • Sue says:

          I’m only sorry that history wasn’t there that evening to justify the huge Euros it cost me.

          • M2N2K says:

            Sometime in 1980s Maurizio Pollini played Brahms’ Second with our orchestra: his playing was superb throughout in both interpretation and execution, but unfortunately his attitude and behavior during rehearsals were rather unpleasant. Between eight and ten years ago I attended his all-Bach recital in Berlin: this time his playing was mediocre at best, both technically and musically – extremely underwhelming and hugely disappointing.

  • MacroV says:

    I don’t find it so surprising. Argerich has performed a decent amount with Capaucon (at least I’ve seen a few chamber concerts on tv) and she’s not replacing just anyone.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Argerich and Kovacevitch in a duo recital on the date of Pollini’s cancelled recital.

    • Sue says:

      Have you seen this. Kovacevich turns up in this film.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Thank you! Too long to watch in its entirety, but I sampled some scenes with Kovacevich. He seems like an interesting person. His Beethoven also sounded exquisite. He richly deserves to play with Argerich.
        Also, I agree with your opinion on Pollini, though he was my hero in my late teens – back in the early 80s. Maybe after the mid-80s he evolved in ways I can’t relate to. I’ve heard this opinion from others too.

  • Peter Phillips says:

    Unprecedented? Two precedents come to mind, both from many years ago. The first was a prom in the early sixties at which Yehudi Menuhin substituted for Alberto Lysy. The second was scarcely credible. At a Belfast Festival concert in 1968 the indisposed Raymond Lewenthal was replaced by Sviatoslav Richter.

    • MWnyc says:

      Five years ago, Pollini cancelled a program with the Philadelphia Orchestra – and was replaced by Maria João Pires. Not bad at all!

  • MacroV says:

    I recall reading Schyler Chapin’s memoir a few years ago and he told of the time when, as MET chief, he had to go out before the start of La Boheme to announce that Franco Corelli was ill and wouldn’t be able to sing Rodolfo. Substituting for him would be…Luciano Pavarotti.

  • RW2013 says:

    She’s in great form this week, going by her concert in Berlin last Saturday.

  • anne karraj says:

    Not surprised, they have the same manager, ceci explique cela…

  • Paul Davis says:

    Not only extremely funny and ironic; la championne of cancellations swaps rôles, but also la remplaçante replaces le remplaçant; Pollini had already been programmed as substitute for an indisposed Myung-Whun Chung (as pianist!). I hadn’t intended to rush for either Chung or Pollini, but now……

    Wicked tongues said that M-W Chung hadn’t made enough time to get his pianism back into shape. If Martha now cancels herself, who could possibly continue the upward quality curve?

    • Paul Davis says:

      Having just kluk on the video, i learn that it will be a duo-recital with Stephen Kovacevich. So probably not such a spectacular coup, as one has kept their playing to a higher standard than the other…. Still, as Peter Fleming, doubles partner with John McEnroe replied when asked who made the perfect team: “McEnroe and Anyone!”
      So: Martha and Anyone!

  • Esfir Ross says:

    Martha’s a flak! ” S.Kovacevich and Anyone” for me