The connections between Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim run deeper than the fact that they are both Argentines; Argerich studied with Vincenzo Scaramuzza, who also taught Barenboim's father, and the pianists both have Russian-Jewish-Argentine ancestry. They have the kind of instinctive understanding, coming from shared experiences, that makes for successful duo piano work, and that sets this live recording apart from the majority of superstar pairings.
…Another justification, of course, is the obvious enthusiasm of the young players as they make their way through a curtain-raising Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, with its collection of diverse but harmonious instrumental elements, and through Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, with its durable resonances of hope amid warfare. This concert was recorded live in Ramallah in August 2005, under heavy guard. The logistical preparations of the concert, Barenboim says, could fill a book. But maybe that's a book that should be written, for the bottom line is that the concert took place and ended with an explosion of applause…
An internationally known pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim has toured with the Chicago Symphony and was the music director of the Orchestre de Paris for more than 14 years. His repertoire includes Beethoven, Mozart and Anton Bruckner symphonies.
For some reason, Daniel Barenboim's recordings of the Mozart-Da Ponte masterpieces have been overlooked. All three have splendid casts - and among them, this may be the least spectacular, but it is nonetheless a wonderful performance. Joan Rodgers has a gorgeous voice, and sings Zerlina with radiant and womanly warmth - no voce infantile here, thank the gods. It's a pity she hasn't recorded more. She is, fortunately, in Barenboim's two other Mozart-Da Ponte operas, singing her heart out as Susanna and Despina. Furlanetto has an interesting take on the role of the Don. He usually sings Leprello, but here he sings the part of Don Giovanni with a rather unique interpretation.