August brings a new batch of (six) titles in the Virtuoso series. Building the range of recordings with big symphonies, key concertos, influential choral works and appealing chamber music. All of the titles in the series offer excellent recordings, famous artists, strong visuals, innovative booklet notes and best-selling composers. They tick every box to make serious classical music as easy and approachable as can be, with integrity and without compromise.
Pianists Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire are stupendous virtuosos, and there's nothing in this recording of their 2009 Salzburg recital of staggeringly difficult works they cannot play. They know each other so well as old duo piano partners that their playing is stunning in its unity, but their distinctive individuality also comes across. What's most impressive about this recital is how completely Argerich and Freire have made this music their own. Brahms' Haydn Variations sound freer and fresher, more playful, and more profound than ever. Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances are thrillingly rhapsodic, rapturous, and dramatic. Schubert's Grand Rondeau is more lyrical, intimate, and graceful than usual, and Ravel's La Valse more ecstatic and apocalyptically over-the-top frightening than in any comparable recordings, including Argerich's own earlier releases. Captured in wonderfully clear yet wholly present digital sound, the performances on this disc will be compulsory listening for anyone who loves music, any music.
“Unquestionably one of the greatest pianists of all time” is how Gramophone magazine has described Martha Argerich. Her relationship with Warner Classics goes back to 1965 and her victory at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Over several decades it has produced a rich catalogue of live and studio recordings, embracing a repertoire that spans three centuries, a diversity of genres, and collaborations with such figures as Renaud Capuçon, Charles Dutoit, Nelson Freire, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky and Itzhak Perlman.
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.
Throughout her lengthy artistic career, pianist Martha Argerich has experienced many heights and depths: moments of "crisis" in which she hasn't always seemed prepared to offer the full extent of her artistic insights, but also many, many times when she has managed simultaneously to come into her own and to completely lose herself in music-making. Fortunately it's the latter snapshot of Argerich's career that this CD captures, drawing from two live recitals Argerich gave at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in 1978 and 1979.