Slippedisc daily comfort zone (78): Argerich plays…. Wagner

Slippedisc daily comfort zone (78): Argerich plays…. Wagner

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

July 17, 2021

Believe it.

With Barenboim.

Astonishing tenderness and dramatic power.


  • Nijinsky says:

    Sounds like a silent movie accompaniment.

    Where’s the movie to go with it?

    My Grandmother, God bless her soul, told me that as a youngster she and a friend went to a silent movie, with piano accompaniment. And they had to laugh at the pianist, working so hard stirring up the drama.

    • Nijinsky says:

      All these down votes are making me laugh, by the way. Not that I’m waiting for an opera director to create a new version, all in black and white, with a COMPLETE two piano reduction as accompaniment to the WHOLE opera. But someone could actually use the version as accompaniment to an old silent film plot, and be free to make it up themselves.

      As if this is not allowed, and to be voted down, when even suggested.

      • Orcale of Selfy says:

        Wagner doesn’t inspire a sense of humour. Mozart once remarked that Wagner’s music is like erectile dysfunction, thr angry dullness & obstreperous elation of vetus priapus.

        • Curt Kuhns says:

          Interesting how Mozart, who died in 1791 could have such clear insight into Wagner’s music, who wasn’t born until 1813.

        • Nijinsky says:

          I do remember somewhat that what Mozart said was regarding the harmonies, and how Faure should be played more, not having the indigestion of Wagner…. (nor of Brahms, come to think of it)

      • Nijinsky says:

        That’s a misquote. What Mozart said was that he liked Faure better, or that Faure was a better composer (I don’t remember exactly, it was awhile ago) because it (Faure) didn’t have all of the indigestion.

  • Nijinsky says:

    I hadn’t listened to the whole thing yet, and yes there is tenderness at the end. The beginning made me think of a standard silent movie with the forlorn lady, chased by the evil man in a cape, and then the hero…

    I don’t know about the old adage that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds, hopefully it’s better than it starts…. [off]

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    She plays so much better than he does

  • Henry williams says:

    Great playing

  • Petronius says:

    So much passion into so little substance. Wagner is the father of pop music.

  • Richard Wagner says:

    Why not?

  • Y says:

    I always love to hear piano reductions of densely orchestrated music. They sound so different, and you can often hear harmonies and other details that are otherwise half-buried in the orchestral fog.

    The overture to Die Meistersinger is a great example of this. Glenn Gould arranged it for solo piano, and wow is it a different experience!

  • Y says:

    Glad to see they played the Tristan Schluss ending, which is much better than the original. I’m always left feeling cold and empty by Hollander performances that use the original ending, which is about as musically fulfilling as the sound of the auditorium doors slamming shut. The revised ending is what makes the whole experience worthwhile and what elevates the opera to the numinous, rather than the merely spectacular.

  • Micaelo Cassetti says:

    I like Wagner, but I think here that the art of the arranger may even exceed that of the composer…

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Did I understand Barenboim to say that the transcription is by Debussy? It’s marvelous.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      Yes Debussy did make such an arrangement, and arranged other composer’s music for two pianos as well (Schumann and Camille Saint-Saëns among them). Certainly later in life he expressed distaste for Wagner (famously stating that Wagner’s music was a sunset mistaken for a dawn), but earlier he had expressed considerable enthusiasm for Wagner, particular Tristan.

  • fflambeau says:

    Sorry, but Wagner demands a full, very full, orchestra. This is good but not up to the orchestra.

  • Tony says:

    Last of the Summer Wine.
    Disappointing after the build-up.
    Daniel sounds burnt out to my ears.
    They must have had fun performing it, but it is one-dimensional and dull.

  • Kurt Kaufman says:

    Exciting playing. I enjoy listening to orchestral transcriptions for piano solo or two players, but I find a little goes a long way: the frequent use of tremolo becomes fatiguing to my ears.

  • Marfisa says:

    It is worth remembering the reason for piano transcriptions of orchestral works, before the recording industry got going. Many people had pianos in their homes, with at least one or two family members who could play. How else could they hear and get to know the music? Even if they lived in big cities with symphony orchestras, experiencing and becoming familiar with a wide repertory was not easy. (In fact, since my parents weren’t into classical music, my first experience of Beethoven’s symphonies was sight-reading a piano duet version with a school-friend.)