Two Argerich recordings for your consideration

Recorded at the Lucerne Festival, August 2013, these live performances of beautifully balanced Mozart concertos bid a poignant farewell to a collaborative partnership that had begun fifty years before.  The enclosed booklet contains pictures of the youthful duo, when Argerich had joined the DGG label to record Prokofiev with Claudio Abbado (1933-2013). Their opening foray addresses the massive 1786 C Major Concerto of Mozart, among his arge, “symphonic” concertos that move in the opening Allegro maestoso through majestic periods and the four affects – risoluto, espessivo, dolce, and scherzando – in academic order but with such facility of invention and internal cohesion that we hardly feel the architectural discipline. Keyboard rockets ascend to a fateful G of the dominant that soon yield to modulations into C Minor and E-flat Major. The scoring occasionally thins out into a transparent woodwind quintet with keyboard, elegqant chamber music amidst the huge flourishes of symphonic harmony. Argerich plays the first movement cadenza by old colleague Friedrich Gulda – a brief but bravura interlude – before the combination of warbling and cascading strings and horns takes us to the coda. read more at

 Deutsche Grammophon doesn’t miss a beat. No sooner does its boxed set devoted to Martha Argerich’s complete DG recordings appear than the yellow label brings out Carte Blanche, a two-disc set preserving the July 27, 2007 Verbier Festival “Argerich and Friends” concert, featuring the celebrated pianist with some of her long-standing chamber and piano ensemble partners, plus a few newcomers like Lang Lang.  For Argerich watchers, the repertoire is predictable and seemingly redundant. Indeed, five of the works were performed a month earlier in Lugano and released as part of EMI’s ongoing Argerich/Lugano series. However, close listening reveals appreciable differences, more in regard to detail than interpretive values. Furthermore, the Verbier concert is more tightly miked than the relatively resonant EMI Lugano recordings. read more at