This disc, recorded in 1965, has previously been unreleased because of the exclusivity terms of Argerich's contract with DGG which followed on closely from these recording sessions. Argerich went on to record a disc for DGG which was very similar in content to this recording for EMI but it is arguable that this earlier disc captured the finer recital especially when it is now possible to compare the two side by side.
The piano sound on this EMI disc is very realistic and full toned. It is cut at a high level which makes the Abbey Road studio sound rather 'bigger' than normal giving the illusion of a large empty hall rather than the recording studio. The piano timbre has no trace of woodenness, only verging on slightly clangorous timbre at moments of greatest power. These issues can easily be tamed by slightly reducing the playback level. Whatever, the playing is of such splendour and gripping intensity that any quibbles over recorded sound perfection are completely negated by the musical results and their impact.
A generalisation can be made when comparing the DGG alternative with this slightly earlier set. It is often very difficult for artists to re-capture the spontaneity of first attempts even if later attempts may achieve greater technical perfection. Thus Argerich's EMI recital recorded on this disc has a freshness and spontaneity of expression that is not quite matched by the, admittedly fine, DGG alternative.
There is just a touch of hard driving about the sonata, scherzo and polonaise in the later DGG disc which is not present in this EMI predecessor. This current disc offers a typically crisp range of tempi, but it achieves that velocity, power and excitement without any trace of being over-driven. Apparently, the final movement of the sonata was recorded in one full take and that may explain the enhanced suggestion of spontaneity present throughout this disc. The rest of the program, the three mazurkas and the nocturne, are examples of jewel-like and delicate miniatures.
This then, is a very special recording which captures Argerich in full youthful and unspoiled enthusiastic form. There is an unusual degree of spontaneity present throughout and I would suggest that this disc would make a most attractive addition to any collector's record library even if the later DGG disc is already on collectors' shelves.
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