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Rachmaninov, Ravel, Etc / Argerich, Freire

Release Date: 08/14/2007 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 1154038   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Maurice RavelSergei RachmaninovWitold Lutoslawski
Performer:  Nelson FreireMartha Argerich
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These players are both temperamental virtuosos and it is hard to think of them harnessed together, yet this is a far more successful LP than Martha Argerich's previous two-piano recording, with Nicholas Economou (DG 410 616-I, 9/83). That also involved Rachmaninov—the Symphonic Dances—and suffered in comparison with the Vladimir Ashkenazy/Andre Previn reading (Decca SXL6926, 4/80). So does this one of Suite No. 2, for the rival team, again on Decca, convey a greater sense of mystery, of the music's inwardness. Yet Argerich and Freire, besides benefitting from a much warmer recording than the DG one, play with exhilarating fluency and flexibility, catching the evanescent mood of the "Romance" extremely well, and the outer Read more movements' embodiment of physical energy.

The only other current recording available in the UK of the two-piano edition of Ravel's La valse is by Jean-Philippe Collard and Michel Beroff, a splendid one but obtainable only in a three-LP boxed set (EMI Pathe-Marconi/Conifer 2C 167 73025-7, 5/81). Argerich and Freire are every bit as good, and make this score's sinister underlying tensions fully apparent. At such moments the keyboard version actually seems preferable to the orchestration. Besides it, Lutoshwski's Variations on the expected Paganini theme appear as merely an inventive jeux d'esprit. and the composer himself has spoken of them as "cafe music". They are, though, highly effective, and this performance is aptly dazzling.

– Gramophone [10/1983], reviewing the original release
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Works on This Recording

La valse by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Nelson Freire (Piano), Martha Argerich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
Suite for 2 Pianos no 2, Op. 17 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Nelson Freire (Piano), Martha Argerich (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900-1901; Russia 
Variations on a theme of Paganini for 2 Pianos by Witold Lutoslawski
Performer:  Nelson Freire (Piano), Martha Argerich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; Poland 

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