Notes and Editorial Reviews
Martha Argerich's 1976 recordings of Schumann's Fantasiestücke and C major Fantasy for Ricordi first appeared in the U.S. on a Columbia Masterworks vinyl release, while EMI and Japanese RCA subsequently produced relatively short-lived CD editions. Sonically speaking, this latest incarnation via Sony Classical's Originals reissue series offers slightly warmer sound with less tape hiss. Even with the relatively close microphone placement that prevents loud low notes from resonating to their Argerichian fullness, we easily appreciate the pianist's infinite capacity for tonal nuance and color.
The C major Fantasy's impassioned first movement easily absorbs Argerich's tempo fluctuations, although she doesn't convey the music's
large-scale dynamism and grandeur to the degree of such disparate interpretations as Pollini and Kissin. Aside from a few instances of slack rhythms and overpedalings in the March, Argerich unfolds the polyphonic strands with easy fluidity while favoring a more animated than usual basic tempo for the finale.
However, the Fantasiestücke truly captures Argerich at her most individual and inspired. In a world full of plodding, reticent readings of the opening piece Des Abends, Argerich's brisk tempo and gorgeously shaped melody lines are balm to the ears. With little warning, Aufschwung explodes at the starting gate like an unbridled greyhound, buttressed by unexpected accents. I've rarely heard In der Nacht's tidal wave left-hand accompaniment sound so effortless yet specifically contoured, to say nothing of the pianist's dazzling lightness and point throughout Traumes Wirren. If you missed these performances previously, don't hesitate to acquire them now, while you can.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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