To approach Martha Argerich requires first winning her trust. She never reveals herself easily, but this documentary manages to achieve what for many has been impossible, giving us an unprecedented glimpse into this artist's life and work.
Evening Talk begins with her description of the shock she experienced at age 6, when she heard Beethoven's Fourth Concerto for the first time. She goes on to describe her connections with Schumann, Prokofiev and Bach, reminisces about her musical apprenticeship in Vienna at age 13 as the only student of Friedrich Gulda, about her time studying with Michelangeli (who gave her four lessons over the course of a year and a half) and about the difficulties of beginning a fully-fledged international "career" at the tender age of 16.
The archival photographs are equally captivating: Martha at the home of Gulda, Gulda playing ping pong, Martha at 18 after winning first prize at the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Martha performing Ravel's Concerto in G, Prokofiev's Third Concerto and Bach's Partita No. 2. This documentary never ceases to fascinate, tantalizing the viewer in its attempt to capture the enigmatic identity of its subject.
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Verbier Festival 2007