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.
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.