This remastered disc brings together three admired recordings from 1967, the concertos, and 1975, Gaspard. Abbado matches Argerich's energy and youthful enthusiasm while bringing his customary care for detail and clarity to bear. The remastering has been done using DGG's own processes and on this occasion has been very successful.
The Prokofiev concerto has been a favourite with collectors and its combination of sharp humour and lyrical simplicity, as in the central movement, suits Argerich's own independent character. Her incisive finger-work is complemented by her willingness to use rubato for expressive means and this improvisatory element makes the performance a compellingly individual statement.
Much the same can be said of her Ravel concerto and comparing this recording with her fairly recent 'live' performance in Stockholm, and now on DVD/Blu-ray, one is more aware of the similarities than the differences. The later performance is more flexible in terms of a jazz-inspired improvisatory feel, but that is not to suggest that this earlier recording is in any way lacking in that sort of freedom. It is arguable that the slightly tighter approach might be more suitable for repeat hearing on a CD.
The Gaspard performance is a tour de force in all respects although Argerich has since referred to it on a recent documentary film as being a recording that makes her sound like a pregnant mum. She was pregnant at the time and it seems that the recording session is not a particularly scintillating memory fro her. For the rest of the world it has always been an admired achievement musically and still sounds well.
This disc, by compiling this collection of three fine recordings, offers something of a musical bargain. As such I would suggest that it deserves to be on collectors' shelves and would also be a fine choice for those just looking for a single recording of these works or any combination of them.