Most of those who buy classical music recordings will have these Concertos in some form or another, and may be wondering why they should purchase yet another rendition. Well the simple reason is that this CD is the only one that I have heard to do full justice to all parts of these often misunderstood works.
Chopin's piano concertos were written while he was still a young man, and are often criticised for the rather academic and self-concious outer movements. Indeed the long tutti that opens the first concerto is as far from 'Chopinesque' music as he ever got (it was even rumoured that the orchestration was carried out by a colleague), and the 'mazurka' embedded in the third movement is playful, but a world apart from any of the haunting and beautiful solo piano music.
However, the stoic and occasionally flat-footed writing of the outer movements in both concertos,frame two slow movements of such inspiration that they have (in my opinion) yet to be equalled by any composer since. These melodies are amongst the most evocative ever written, and are delicatley underpinned with a subtle orchestral score that lets every golden note hang in the air.
Argerich and Dutoit are absolutley aware of this, and while they dance, whirl and march round the outer parts with all the panache required, they melt into the inner sections with the utmost telepathic polish and grace. I am not Argerich's biggest fan (I think the Rachmaninov D minor concerto with Chailly is horribly over-rated), but her wonderful sense of timing and very subtle rubato turn these performances into pure gold.
The recording quality is good, but the intensity of the performance is the real reason to buy this CD. It is clear that they both love these works very much - I think anyone who has heard them would love them too.