BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1.1 MOZART Piano Concerto No. 182 • Martha Argerich (pn); Seiji Ozawa, cond;1 Eugen Jochum, cond;2 Bavarian RSO • BR 900701 (63:37) Live: Munich 7/17/1983;1 Würzburg 6/22/19732 Read more />
If there are two composers not normally associated with the kind of white-heat performances of Martha Argerich, they are Beethoven and Mozart. Though generally thought of as a pianist of the virtuoso repertoire, including everything from the Liszt Sonata to the Prokofiev concertos, Argerich here shows herself to be not only a stylish player, but a profoundly interesting one as well. While some might describe Argerich’s playing here as “holding back,” I would disagree; she has absorbed the style of the music that she’s playing here so completely that, rather than giving less than normal, it sounds like she is giving just enough.
The Beethoven is very good. The orchestra, at times seems a bit sluggish, especially in the opening tutti before the piano makes its entrance, but Argerich has an ability to breathe life into the performance. Her playing has spontaneity; one feels at times that she is almost improvising the figurational patterns. The vitality and the lightness, which Argerich brings out so well, are evident from her very first entry. The balance between orchestra and piano is maintained well throughout; the soloist and instrumentalists of the orchestra always playing off of each other well. The pianist’s dynamic control is, as always, superb. When Argerich plays the trill in the first movement at 12: 14, the notes detached, and pulls back at 12:16 to begin the trill pianissimo and legato, to only crescendo up a few seconds later, the effect is not only breathtaking, but palpable. The movements that follow are equally well done. Argerich’s ability to produce a transparent, mezza voce sound in the slow movement is ideal. The rapid scalar runs are easy for her, and the effect more of a dynamic surge than ornamental filigree. The third movement is taken at a lively pace, and the offbeat accents sound naturally done—never over the top. This recording is similar in conception to another of Argerich’s live performances with the Royal Concertgebouw under Heinz Wallberg (EMI 56974), though I prefer this rendition with Ozawa.
This is the only recording I know of Argerich playing this Mozart Concerto. As good as the Beethoven is, the Mozart is better. The balance here is even finer than in the previous Concerto, and the colors inherent in the orchestration are brought to the fore—Mozart’s mastery is in evidence here and the performers bring this out especially well. One of my favorite moments is in the second variation of the second movement, the Andante un poco sostenuto, where the strings take over the melody and the piano is left to wander about with its figurative patterns. Later, after the Maggiore section, the same treatment of the melody in the strings and the piano with figurative accompaniment is again done perfectly; this time the figurative wandering, in both the left and right hands of the piano, is even more delicately accomplished. Argerich shows her understanding of this passage and does so with sensitivity. The third movement is the epitome of jollity. The tempo, perfectly chosen, again allows Argerich to keep the scalar patterns light and graceful.
These are both fine performances, ones that I would not hesitate to have in my collection. The sound is good, the piano a bit forward at certain moments, but musically made up for in the performances. As these are staples of the concerto repertoire though, I would still recommend owning a few other fine performances: in the Beethoven, Adrian Aeschbacher with Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Lucerne Festival Orchestra (Music & Arts 1018), an older recording with less than modern studio sound, but a fabulous performance, and in the Mozart, Peter Serkin with Alexander Schneider conducting the English Chamber Orchestra (RCA Victor Red Seal 35123—now available on arkivmusic.com as an ArkivCD).
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15by Ludwig van Beethoven Performer:
Martha Argerich (Piano)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria Date of Recording: 07/17/1983 Venue: Herkulessaal der Residenz, Munich
Concerto for Piano no 18 in B flat major, K 456by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performer:
Martha Argerich (Piano)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria Date of Recording: 06/22/1973 Venue: Kaisersaal, Würzburg, Germany
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
One of the Truly Great Performers of Our Time!October 8, 2016By Richard Buckley (Oakmont, PA)See All My Reviews"Martha Argerich is not a good pianist. She is a GREAT pianist! I have a few of her CDs. All of them are outstanding, but this CD is an unchartered territory for Martha. Neither Beethoven nor Mozart are part of her normal repertoire!! I am not familiar with any other of her recordings which feature either of these superb composers. I have admired Martha's talent ever since I first heard her play, but, for the previously stated reasons, I actually hesitated to acquire this CD. She seemed to prefer slightly more recent composers, and I wasn't sure if I would appreciate her recordings of the se earlier masters. Shame on me! Both Beethoven and Mozart themselves would be delighted with these performances! They rank up there with the best I've ever heard. I should have known! As fantastic as her performance of Lidwig's Piano Concerto No. 1 is - and it is really outstanding - I am even more moved by her offering of the Mozart Piano Concerto no. 18. I always loved the piece, but Martha absolutely hitsm it out of the park! She plays with such feeling and unique touch that you can't help but being moved. She is masterfully joined by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the fine direction of Eugen Jochum for this selection, and by the same orchestra but expertly conducted by Seiji Ozawa for the Beethoven piece. Ozawa's genius is quite evident in Ludwig's piano concerto. Martha was just as incredibly masterful in this recording. It was performed ten years later before a live audience, and to report that the audience went wild would be an understatement! It should come as no surprise. Martha was incredible as a youth and only improved with age! If you really enjoy and appreciate great pianists - Horowitz, Van Cliburn, Serkin, etc., etc.,- Argerich is as outstanding, and maybe even moreso than these artists! You owe it to yourself to acquire this superb CD. It may not be around forever, and I promise that after you hear it for the first time, it will immediately become one of your favorites!"Report Abuse