TAS Rated 5/5 Music, 3.5/5 Sonics in the October 2011 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Acclaimed pianist Martha Argerich is joined by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Claudio Abbado for this magnificent performance of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto alongside Ravel’s Piano Concerto.
The Argentine pianist, born in Buenos Aires, started playing the piano at age three. She gave her debut concert in 1949 at the age of eight. At the age of 16, in 1957, she won both the Geneva International Music Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition, within three weeks of each other. It was at the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition where she met Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli whom she would later seek out for lessons at the age of 20.
Argerich rose to international prominence when she won the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1995 at the age of 24. In 1966, she made her first recording for which she received critical acclaim.
She is famous for her interpretation of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G.
“Prokofiev’s great Third Piano Concerto has been Martha Argerich’s signature piece since she won competitions with it at the age of 16 in 1957. If you’re used to Bryon Janis’ reading on Mercury or have never heard Argerich play Prokofieff, you’re in for a shock. The only other artist I can think of who played the Third with this kind of energy at this breakneck tempo was Prokofiev himself, and Prokofiev’s performance is all speed and slop. Despite its power and pace, Argerich’s is far more agile, deeply thought out, and various – built upon the precise articulation of rhythmic and dynamic contrasts.
Be they fortissississimo or pianissississimo, presto or adagio, every note, every chord, every bravura run and leaping flourish is sounded with passion and precision. It’s as if Argerich is uttering one long, complex, fully articulate sentence in one long thrilling breath. Abbado and the Berlin Phil keep up with her, though it often seems (as it often does with distinctive pianists in distinctive performances) as if Argerich is conducting as well as soloing. Full credit goes to DG’s engineers, whose close miking of the piano perfectly serves the clarity of line and muscular poetry of Argerich’s sensational reading. A must-own disc.”
-Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound, October 2011
- 180g Vinyl
- Made in Germany
ID: Deutsche Grammophon – 139 349 SLPM