- Performer: Martha Argerich
- Conductor: Charles Dutoit
- Audio CD (1 Mar. 1999)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Warner Classics
- ASIN: B00000IWVP
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,834 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 CD
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With the exception of these two early piano concertos, most of Frederic Chopin's output was devoted to miniatures. Through these concertos, however, Chopin transformed the piano into an ideal vehicle for romanticism and established his own reputation as the premiere soloist of his day. Written in the artistically sheltered world of Warsaw, No. 1 was premiered by Chopin when he was 20 and reflects his intense wish for Polish independence. The centrality of the piano is revealed in the opening, Brahmsian "Maestoso", and continues with the idyllic, moonlit reverie of "Romanze". In the concluding rondo, the composer offers authentic excerpts of Cracow folk music. Concerto No. 2 (actually written before No. 1, but published later) once again places the piano in a prominent role, though the conventional sonata form is discarded for a theme-and-variations approach in the opening movement. Charles Dutoit keeps the reconstituted forces of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (now consisting of strings, four horns, two trumpets, winds in pairs, timpani, and trombone) in a state of constant alert, thereby allowing Argerich to create a spontaneous, acrobatic performance that spins with the abandon of fireworks. There is no reason to consider this collaboration to be anything less than definitive. --Kevin Mulhall
Top Customer Reviews
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.
The Chopin 2 is I think a better and more characteristic performance than her recording with Rostropovich .
I have no fault to find with the orchestral accompaniment. Dutoit is sympathetic and responsive - indeed these are readings which show that Chopin was no means as bad an orchestrator as some would have you believe . Most of all, however , the recordings are about not Argerich but Chopin. Time and again her playing brings out the endless invention of this composer and unlike some plainer performances they never bore.
This is a great recording of marvellous works that will give purchasers tremendous joy and satisfaction . Up there with Pollini/Kletzki and Lipatti in No 1 and Rubinstein in both .
As an introduction to Chopin's music, I would recommend this above the more famous Nocturnes,Waltz's and Mazurka's, wonderful though they are. Whilst music critics debate the standing of Copin's piano concertoes in the 'pantheon' of this genre, my personal view is that they don't sit too far behind Beethoven, Mozart and Rachmaninov
A minor caveat is the murky acoustic, but it doesn't detract from the quality of the performances at all. For my money, this is the definitive Chopin Concertos.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This recording has just been awarded clear first choice in BBC Record Review (24.sept.2016).Published 3 months ago by Mr. P. Mclaughlin
We love it. Wonderful music beautifully performed. Very happyPublished 17 months ago by Carolyn Ockley
Very happy with item I purchased, arrived promptly and in excellent as advertised.Published on 24 Oct. 2014 by Lesley Maiden
For me, Martha Argerich is one of the World's greatest pianists; that is not, of course, to decry anyone else, but there always seems to be that "something extra" which sets her on... Read morePublished on 11 Dec. 2013 by Salieri
This disc, very well recorded in 1998, makes for an obvious and desirable coupling of the two Chopin concertos. Read morePublished on 25 Nov. 2013 by I. Giles
Divine Martha, who plays like a man... Great Dutoit, wonderful director and Martha's husband: a couple to listen. A Chopin vibrant and modern, but still romantic.Published on 9 Sept. 2013 by Francesco G
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