37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2008
There are many good recordings of Chopin's preludes. Lots of them are made by outstanding pianists, of whom Martha Argerich is one. The music itself is more open to interpretation than most other classical music, it opens itself up naturally to the whims of the player, and seems somehow to benefit from different readings. No two recordings sound alike and this is one thing I love about them- you can own any amount of different recordings and they will all show a different insight into Chopin's musical personality.
That said, the absolutely fiery rage of, say, number 12, the scintillating number 10, the impeccably dreamy number 13, the deep bell-like bass on number 9 all mark Argerich out as two things. 1- an incredible player with an amazing technique, and 2- one of very few pianists to really play an individual, highly innovative set. There really is not a dull moment in this incredible recording. Recommended highly!
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2007
This is why Argerich is so highly rated. To sample her approach, try listening to her reading of the opening Prelude (in C major) and compare it to, say, Pollini's. Pollini's is a fine, deeply thought-out account. Argerich's, by contrast, is an immersion in the emotion of the piece. In works by other composers, some people might find her passionate approach off-putting - Argerich is often criticised for playing 'too fast' and with 'too much' emotion . But here, it's perfect, (and actually, I suspect, a little slower than her live performances of the same pieces). It's passionate of course, but technically accomplished and completely convincing. One of my 'Desert Island Discs'
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This disc contains performances from Argerich at her most volatile and inspirational. The Preludes and the Sonata both date from the 1970s and offer very good sound which will be no cause for concern. The performances themselves are from a time when Argerich was still a young woman and they give no quarter in terms of being emotionally super-charged. In the hands of lesser pianists some may describe these types of interpretations as impetuous but that suggests a lack of previous thought. In this case these performances, which are certainly emotionally driven and at white heat, betray no such casualness. Instead the impression gained is that of intense emotionalism intensely controlled.
The Preludes are delivered as if one sustained piece with very little pause between one and the next. Chopin wrote them all as a complete unit which was unusual for him. Most of his collected works as bought today (sets of Scherzi, Nocturnes, Impromptus, Mazurkas etc.) were written individually throughout his life and were never intended to be played as complete sets. The Preludes were different though and that is very much how Argerich plays them - as a stream of continuous inspiration.
In general terms there is an emphasis on forwardly moving tempi, some considerably faster than normal. This is most true when a faster piece follows on without any pause from the previous piece so that they become emotionally joined. This seems perfectly acceptable when so many of these preludes are so fragmentary and benefit by being so joined.
The Sonata also receives a blistering performance with all the same sense of forwardly driven emotions and with tempi to match. Dynamics and phrasing are utilised to maximise the emotional content of the music. There are few more emotionally driven performances on disc and this could have the effect of making other fine performances seem rather cool and reserved.
This is a thrilling disc with a strong sense of improvisatory drive and displaying highly charged emotional responses. There are equally valid ways of playing this repertoire but none more convincing than this in its own way. This is great pianism allied to great music making seemingly done on the spur of the moment. Definitely not Chopin playing for the faint hearted!
I would suggest that this disc should be seriously considered as a 'must buy' for all collectors interested in alternative interpretations. Purchasers interested in an 'only' buy may wish to tread more carefully if they are after a representative disc of the program. This one may make all the others seem unjustifiably dull!
5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2011
One of my favourite classical recordings is that of Pogorelich's account of Chopin's piano sonata no.2 in B flat minor (op.35).
I also very much admire Argerich and so I decided to buy this cd so as to compare the two performances.
Those of you who have the inclination to compare and enjoy the recordings/performances based on their own merits will certainly appreciate this delightful cd.
Argerich's account is pure and beautiful. Pogorelich's version is very different but lovely too.
There is no doubt in my mind that this cd is one of the most enjoyable from the solo piano section of my collection and I hope this review encourages you to purchase.
A very important disc indeed with Argerich offering a very commanding performance.