Not long after I reviewed Gabriele Baldocci’s superb recording of the Beethoven/Liszt First and Sixth symphonies, a CD arrived in the mail containing a live 2008 program for two pianos, with the young Italian pianist and his mentor Martha Argerich. Since Argerich previously has recorded all of this repertoire with various pianists, comparisons are inevitable.
Take, for example, the present Ravel La valse, with its pronounced rubato and exploratory inner voices, so different from the Salzburg Argerich/Freire version’s finely honed balances and dynamic scaling. In the Mozart D major sonata, you can weigh Argerich/Baldocci’s more nuanced synchronicity against the harder-hitting Argerich/Rabinovitch rendition. I do prefer thisRead more Shostakovich Concertino’s lightness and wit over the more forceful 2006 Lugano Argerich/Zilberstein EMI recording. While the latter’s 2008 Lugano Rachmaninov First Suite is perfectly fine in and of itself, the Argerich/Baldocci collaboration proves strikingly freer and more pliable, especially in the slow third-movement Les larmes.
The outer movements of Milhaud’s Scaramouche are notable for the pianists’ rhythmic verve and clean textures, despite occasional pounding in the Brasileira (Argerich and Karin Merle achieve more polished results in their Lugano rendition issued by DG). The sonics are generally excellent, although a slightly metallic patina emerges in the loudest moments. All told, a delightful release.