Schumann, Ravel - Live from the Concertgebouw - Martha Argerich - 1978, 1979, 2011 (SACD-R, ISO)

Schumann, Ravel – Live from the Concertgebouw – Martha Argerich – 1978, 1979, 2011 (SACD-R, ISO)

Composer: Robert Schumann, Maurice Ravel
Performer: Martha Argerich – piano
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Format: ISO
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 2.0
Label: EMI Classical
Size: 2.07 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes
Server: datafile

Martha Argerich
Live from the Concertgebouw 1978/1979:


Fantasiestucke Op. 12:

01. Des Abends
02. Aufschwung
03. Warum?
04. Grillen
05. In der nacht
06. Fabel
07. Traumes wirren
08. Ende von Lied

Maurice RAVEL:


09. Modere
10. Mouvement de menuet
11. Anime

Gaspard de la nuit:

12. I. Ondine (Lent)
13. II. Le Gibet (Tres lent)
14. III. Scarbo (Modere – Vif)

This is the 3rd of a series of live performances given in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam by Martha Argerich (there is also a live recital on CDC5 56975-2 & a concerto disc on CDC5 56974-2). The concerts date from 1978 & 1979 & offer the record collector the opportunity to compare & contrast Argerich the recitalist at that time with Argerich the accompanist now (DG are in the process of issuing a Schumann disc with the cellist Mischa Maisky on 469 524-2).

It is as important to forget the relatively low playing time of the present disc as it is to forget the occasional splatter of wrong notes. Freed from the studio, Argerich gives her imagination absolutely full rein. Her strong affinity with Schumann is evident throughout her account of the Fantasiestücke, in which she demonstrates a near miraculous ability to capture the essence of each of the individual movements. What’s more, Schumann’s unpredictable mood shifts & extreme sense of fantasy seem to strike a chord with Argerich’s own persona: the sections of ‘Fabel’, for example, are unapologetically contrasted. Schumann’s ornamentation comes across as if improvised. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this performance is the last movement, in which Argerich paces Schumann’s cumulative, obsessive repetitions to perfection.

Argerich seems to elevate the stature of Ravel’s diminutive Sonatine. She accords the 2nd movement, ‘Mouvement de menuet’, an egg-shell delicacy: in fact throughout her lightened tone is entirely appropriate. But it is Gaspard that finds her at her most inspired. Perhaps what is most awe-inspiring about this is that no matter how tough the going gets pianistically (& it gets pretty tough), the texture is never over-burdened so that the level of detail that comes across is nothing short of revelatory. Argerich’s tonal variety is 1 of her strongest points, & nowhere is this better demonstrated than in ‘Le gibet’, that enormous test of keyboard control. Despite some obtrusive audience noise at the beginning of ‘Scarbo’, Argerich ensures that this is a jaw-dropping experience, right from the gestural sweep of the earlier passages. A salutary reminder of just what Argerich was capable of in her then-chosen guise as keyboard giant.
~ Colin Clarke

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