Do you like your Chopin Preludes exciting and sizzling? Then, have no doubt who is your woman; Argerich's Preludes belong to her most impetuous and lively studio performances. You might wonder where she finds all the energy--and the answer is, at least in most instances, in Chopin's uniquely original and inspirational score. Having said that, there are indeed instances where her edge-of-the-seat energy gets the best of her, pushing aside such other central features as poetry, tonal beauty, articulation and relaxed calm.
The level of excitement Argerich's conjures up in the F-sharp minor, B-flat minor, F minor, E-flat major, G minor and D minor Preludes is peerless. The above-described downsides chiefly reveal themselves in the G major through blurry articulation (partly patched up by overpedaling), in the F-sharp major through relentless unwillingness to allow the gorgeous sonorities to resonate, in the D-flat major through rushing the raindrops into near-flooding proportions (again using excess pedaling), in the B-flat minor through almost pushing it over the edge, in the E-flat major through losing the poetic pliability, and in the B-flat major Prelude through creating unsolicited aggressiveness.
Despite the flaws, I certainly wouldn't want to be without Argerich's blistering Chopin Preludes. Coupled with her unusually swinging Barcarolle, her breakneck Second Scherzo, and her turbo-dancing Op 53 Polonaise makes this a very desirable disc--even if the reference Second Sonata coupling is even more attractive (Chopin: Préludes; Piano Sonata No. 2 [Argentina]). Nonetheless, to get the complete range of Chopin's Preludes, free up shelf space for Ohlsson (Garrick Ohlsson: The Complete Chopin Piano Works Vol. 2 - Preludes) and Pogorelich (Chopin: Préludes, Op.28).