Watch Martha take Cecilia’s breath away

Watch Martha take Cecilia’s breath away

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

November 28, 2021

Summer frolics.

Who’s the lucky page-turner?


  • Andy says:

    I’ve been lucky enough to go and hear her in concert a few times, they were all magnificent, but one in particular (Schumann Concerto, Oxford Town Hall) really defies description. You knew from the opening chords that something was happening, but it built and built and by the end it felt like there was actual magic going on. The atmosphere became so intense that it was kind of unsettling (in a good way). I’ve been to plenty of concerts (and hopefully plenty more to come) but I wonder whether I’ll ever feel that again.

    There was also a concert at the Sheldonian in Oxford where she played the Lizst-Schumann Widmung as an encore and she kept looking up towards to the higher seats and then kind of drifting the melodies up there like she was flying them on a kite.

    Incredible lady. There are other great pianists, and there’ll be more. Not sure there’ll ever be another like her though.

  • Patrick says:


  • Mikhail Hallak says:

    Pure joy!
    Cecilia wanted faster on stage…What musicians those are!

  • . says:

    The page turner is Akane Sakai – a wonderful pianist and close friend of Martha’s for many years. There is a great recording of them playing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring together.

  • Fabulous technique, but I still think CB sounds odd, unnatural?

  • Joel Kemelhor says:

    Bartoli’s transition to a trill at then end is impressive.

  • The great ones keep reminding us: it’s supposed to be fun. You don’t work the piece; you play it.

    • Tamino says:

      false cliché.
      You work and have fun. It’s not mutually exclusive. It’s the nature of high art.

      Here the fun is apparently rather irrelevant to the outcome. The outcome is compromised, Bartoli is surely conveying an atmosphere of fun through her mere presence, but her singing is mediocre at best, for this particular repertoire.

  • Muzio says:

    Perhaps the ‘page turner’ is the pianist Akane Sakai.

  • Justsaying says:

    Amazing prelude. Effortless light and shade. Now if only Bartoli were capable of singing two notes together legato. It’s a perfect demo of the difference between having technique and not having it.

  • Wilhelm says:

    Akane Sakai!

  • Tamino says:

    Not sure why Bartoli thinks this her kind of repertoire (anymore). Her voice is much too broad and heavy now for this, lacking the agility and less guttural timbre required. It sounds cartoonish, sorry.

  • margaret koscielny says:

    Both of these wonderful musicians break all the rules and thrill in the process!

  • BRUCEB says:

    What fun!

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    With all due respect to the Titans Grigory Sokolov and my beloved Vladimir Ashkenazy, it has to be said that, in the midst of all these male-female legitimacy discussions, the best pianist in the world for the last thirty-odd years has been Martha Argerich.