Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires in 1941 and in the course of her career has risen to become the best-known female pianist in the world. She attracted attention at the early age of three at a school performance. Her formal musical education began when she was five years old, and in 1949 she publicly performed piano concertos by Mozart and Beethoven in Buenos Aires. She was able to attend concerts given by the great pianists of that era and was very impressed with their skill. Friedrich Gulda accepted her as a student in 1955 and she went to Vienna to study with him, although he freely admitted that he did not know what he could teach her. In 1957 she won first prizes at piano competitions in Bolzano and Geneva. Her early recordings made in Buenos Aires (1955) and Geneva (1957) form an interesting part of this collection. These were followed by performances at radio stations in Hamburg and Cologne and then by her first official vinyl recordings. She gained early international recognition in 1961 thanks to a concert in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, where Martha Argerich performed together with the brilliant violinist Ruggiero Ricci. An example of that historic performance is included in this first audio documentation of the beginnings of this exceptional pianist’s career.
This is young Argerich, sometimes errant Argerich, but mostly thrilling and thoroughly compelling Argerich. While her pacing can sometimes push limits, she is excellent most of the time; put simply, you are far more likely to be astounded than dismayed.
– MusicWeb International