Martha Argerich has few peers in this repertoire today, and in terms of sheer spontaneity in performance she's simply in a class of her own. Chopin's concertos are early works, and they always have taken their share of abuse owing to the composer's somewhat clunky orchestration. Of course, no one ever has had anything to say against the piano part, which is marvelous and which dominates the proceedings to the point where the orchestra is pretty irrelevant anyway. What makes these performances so special is that Dutoit not only stays in the background, where he belongs, but actually manages to offer the kind of intimate support that allows Argerich to literally do whatever she wants. (David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com)
The duo of cellist Mischa Maisky and pianist Martha Argerich is known for the virtuoso flair they bring to their performances. This album was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. The ensemble succeeds at matching each other in every way, lending a unified and organic feeling that make it hard to believe at times that this is a *live* recording. The acoustic quality is also outstanding, although you may wish it were not so good when Maisky's loud breathing and foot-tapping get out of hand (particularly in the Debussy).
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.
In our era, when large record companies parade good-looking mediocrities before us as major artists, it is good to be reminded of the real thing. Martha Argerich, as this CD demonstrates, had everything: the looks, the temperament, and the technique. By her mid 20s, she already was a phenomenal artist.
Almost four hours of music constitutes exceptional value especially when, tucked away among a selection of Mazurkas, is Chopin's early "Variations on a German National Air". Vásáry charms you into wondering why it is so rarely heard.