24 January 2009

Listening Diary: Live at The Concertgebouw 1978 & 1979, Martha Argerich

I know what you're thinking, "another Argerich-gasm (yawn)". Well, maybe, but what's not to love? This 2000 EMI release documents some fine playing from the Argentine pianist that you would have been lucky to hear had you been slouching around Amsterdam sometime in 1978 or '79. Since I was listening to The Clash quite a bit at the time, I might not have made it to the Concertgebouw anyway.

No doubt that part of the Argerich legend stems from her passionate playing, especially as evidenced in the concert hall, whether it be a solo recital, accompanied by an orchestra or as part of a chamber ensemble. But it was solo recitals (including her DG debut) that served notice there was a major talent on the scene. Also of course, she was a lithe and beautiful Argentine stroking (and pounding) the behemoth grand piano, that most masculine of instruments.

But if her skill and her appearance got her noticed, it is recordings like this one that endure. Argerich is often thought willful and mercuric in her interpretations. Yes, she is--and it's a wonderful thing. This disc is worth its price for the Bach alone, and there is much more (the Chopin, for a start). Argerich is not the type of soloist to play music any way other than she feels at the moment--at least that's my impression; and this can make for dangerous, if exhilarating, listening. The classical racks are full of pianists who play music "their way", but rarely do they have the talent, the ear and the sheer virtuosic skill to make music like this. Dim the lights, cue up the player and let Miss Argerich reach across 30 years and pin you to your seat.

See? Told you.

Live at The Concertgebouw 1978 & 1979

Martha Argerich

Series: EMI Classics

Released: 06/03/2000

Cat. No: CDC 5569752

Format: CD

Number Of Discs: 1

Barcode: 0724355697523

Partita No.2 in C minor, BWV 826

1 - I. Sinfonia - Grave. Adagio

2 - Andante

3 - II. Allemande

4 - III. Courante

5 - IV. Sarabande

6 - V. Rondeau VI. Capriccio

7 - Nocturne No.13 in C minor Op.48 No.1

8 - Scherzo no.3 in C sharp minor Op 39

Sonata (1926), Sz 80

9 - I. Allegro moderato

10 - II. Sostenuto e pesante

11 - III. Allegro molto

Danzas argentinas, Op.2

12 - I. Danza del viejo boyero (Dance of the Old Cowherd)

13 - II. Danza de la moza donosa (Dance of the Delightful Young Girl)

14 - III. Danza del gaucho matrero (Dance of the Artful Herdsman)

Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat Op. 83

15 - I. Allegro inquieto - Andantino

16 - II. Andante caloroso

17 - III. Precipitato

18 - Keyboard Sonata in D minor, Kk 141/L.422

English Suite No.2 in A minor, BWV 807

19 - Bourrée

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