Martha Argerich does not give solo piano recitals anymore. She does something better: she plays duo piano and chamber music with her friends and students. She's been doing it for a couple of decades, and willful as she is, she probably won't change. Besides, when it comes to duo piano and chamber music recitals, Argerich with her friends and students can't be beat. Take, for example, this three-disc set of performances taken from the 2005 Lugano Festival.
What a recital this must have been! Individually, both Maisky and Argerich are among the best living players of their instruments: Maisky is a big-toned, full-blooded cellist and Argerich is a recklessly impulsive pianist blessed with a flawless technique. Together, Maisky and Argerich challenge each other to even higher heights, with Maisky singing like an operatic baritone and Argerich taking ever dangerous risks.
Since she won the seventh International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in 1965 at the age of 24, this Argentine concert pianist has mostly avoided the limelight; she remains, however, one of the greatest interpreters of classical music.
The TDK DVD is designed as a showcase for Martha Argerich, recorded live at La Rogue d’Anthéon Piano Festival, but although she dazzles in the coupled Prokofiev, she is very much part of a team in the Beethoven Triple Concerto and indeed in the expressive slow movement it is the cellist Gautier Capuçon whose solo remains in the memory. Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky, his hair flying, energetically directs vital accounts of the outer movements, with a spontaneous accelerando at the very end of the work…the camera involves the listener compellingly inside the music-making.
This box set really is amazing value and would be well worth having at three times the price! Many people sing the praises of Martha Argerich to the skies, so that the superlatives start to seem a bit predictable almost, but here it has to be said that her performance of the Chopin concerto is a marvel.
Here, on this richly filled CD, is a positive cornucopia of musical genius. Martha Argerich's 1961 disc remains among the most spectacular of all recorded debuts, an impression reinforced by an outsize addition and encore: her 1972 Liszt Sonata. True, there are occasional reminders of her pianism at its most fraught and capricious (Chopin's Barcarolle) as well as tiny scatterings or inaccuracies, yet her playing always blazes with a unique incandescence and character.
Pianists Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan present two stunning selections from Prokofiev’s music for stage and screen in magnificent two-piano transcriptions by Babayan.
Argerich's 1994 DG reading of the Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings is already a benchmark version among modern recordings, complementing the composer's own technically fallible yet still indispensable 1958 account. But now there is a more natural flow in the slow movement, some previously slightly forced rubati are smoother, and although the textures are a fraction more richly pedalled, as often needs to be the case for projection to a big audience rather than the microphone, there is no more than an infinitesimal loss of clarity. So if anything Argerich's playing has the tiniest of edges even over her former self.