I can't imagine what the recording engineer thought when he heard Martha Argerich begin to play, although the CD notes give some description of his awe. Her playing is so intenstly imaginative, bold and absorbing. When she made this recording she was a young woman, and she must have known that her skills were rather unique. It is impossible to describe this disc adequately, you simply have to hear it. No other performer relishes the small Mazurkas like Argerich does here (what a pity there are only three!) Apparently she won a special award at the Chopin Piano Competition for her mazurka playing, and she fully deserved it. I have Rubinstein's recording of these works (also made in the mid '60s), and as good as it is, this stands head and shoulders above it.
The Nocturne, presumably also a part of Argerich's competition program, is like none other. The soft, gently melody at the opening actually gains something when played this quickly, and the stormy interlude is over before you know it has begun thanks to her extremely quick rendition. In the hands of any other performer this type of playing would probably massacre the Nocturne, but here it sounds so intense, so melancholy as to be beautiful. The Sonata is also excellent (although the somewhat boomy piano sound is a little hard to listen to at times here). The Polonaise is tossed off with aplomb, virtuosic sparks flying, and making a marvellous conclusion to a breathtaking release.