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Artist Portrait - Martha Argerich, piano

WARNER CLASSICS 2564-61589 [75:47]

1) Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Concerto for piano and orchestra, in A minor, op 54: I Allegro affetuoso[14:22] *
2-6)Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Waltzes: for piano, Nos. 1, 2, 11, 14, 15 from op 39 (arr. for 2 pianos] [7:07]
7) Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Suite for 2 pianos, No 2, op 17: III Romance "Andantino" [7:13]
8)Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) Nights in the Gardens of Spain: For piano and orchestra: I En el Generalife [10:58] *
9-11) Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sonata for 2 pianos, in D Major K488 [25:15]
12) Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) La Valse: for orchestra [transcribed for 2 pianos] [11:49]
Martha Argerich, piano; Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1) / Alexandre Rabinovich, piano I (2-6; 9-11) / piano II (7,12) / Paris Orchestra, Daniel
Barenboim (8) Live Recordings *
Recording Locations: Salle Pleyel, Paris , 7 February 1986 (8); Stefaniensaal, Graz, July 1992 (1); Teldec Studios, Berlin, September 1991 (7); November 1992 and December 1993 (9-11); April 1993 (2-6); March 1995 (12)

This CD is as much a "portrait" of the accompanying artists as of Ms. Argerich. It may very well be that Warner Classics donít have very much solo repertoire of the artist to choose from; in which case, they should probably have demurred in the enterprise.

The first six tracks (the Schumann concerto movement and the Brahms waltzes) place the artist and Mr. Rabinovich in direct competition with two of the finest artists of the 20th century, namely Dinu Lipatti and Nadia Boulanger. The legendary "live" performance by Lipatti and the Suisse Romande Orchestra with Ernest Ansermet of the Schumann, made just months before his tragic early death, has for me always been difficult to top; as have the recordings of the Brahms waltzes, made earlier in his career with Ms. Boulanger. These efforts come as close as any others I have encountered.

The remaining six tracks prove that the Argerich/Rabinovich collaboration is one to be reckoned with, especially the Ravel. The Rachmaninov and Mozart are excellent, but the Ravel, which ends the disc, leaves ones ears ringing. Depending on the repertoire sought, tentatively recommended.

Gregory W. Stouffer

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