This is a stunning album of duo piano favorites. Marta Argerich is one of the finest pianists currently on the concert circuit. On this complilation CD she teams with two other pianists to perform exciting renditions of some of the classic pieces in the duo piano genre. Standouts include the amazing performance of the Bartok Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. This may be my favorite performance of this piece. It is savage and violent in the first movement, deeply mysterious in the second and playful and life-affirming in the final movement. The performance of the Lutoslawski Variations makes a good case for this work as a worthy successor to other variation sets on this marvelous Paganini Capriccio. The performance of La Valse is the first one that I've heard that doesn't make me yearn for the orchestra. And the Rachmaninov is spectacular.
Why only four stars then? Well, given the wealth of material for duo pianists, I find the inclusion of the Bartok Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra to be mistaken at best. This work is a recasting of the Sonata heard on the second disc, and it's a poor recasting at that. The propulsive power of the Sonata is smoothed out by the orchestra, and the added string lines don't really do anything for the piece at all. Better selections might have been the Mozaqrt Sonata for Two Pianos or the Stravinsky Two Piano music. I know that Argerich has recorded the Mozart for Phillips, so I am baffled by this programming choice.
All in all though, you can't go wrong. And at a Phillips Twofer price, this disc is a pleasant addition to your collection indeed!