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Martha Argerich: Piano Concert

Argerich; Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Jochum , Beethoven; Mozart Audio CD

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Martha Argerich, piano - Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks - Seiji Ozawa & Eugen Jochum, direction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fiery Ms. Argerich as Classicist Nov. 25 2009
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Martha Argerich -- it's hard to believe that she's approaching seventy! -- has always been known as a fiery performer and her concerto appearances have typically focused on the big virtuoso works: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Liszt, Chopin. She has never been deeply involved in the Classic Period concertos. Indeed, I don't think she has ever played all the Beethoven concerti and she's only played a handful of the Mozarts. So one might expect that the performances on this CD containing the Beethoven First and the Mozart No. 18 in B flat, K456, might be misshapen or sentimentalized. Not so. There is no mistaking Argerich's brilliant technique and her finely regulated tone, but at the same time she pays close attention to the conventions of the Classical concerto style. Possibly this is because her early teacher was Friedrich Gulda, who was a notable classicist. And one can also imagine that she is also conveying the teaching of her later teacher, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, whose way with the Classic repertoire was brilliant and lapidary. Whatever the case, one can hardly hear these performances without knowing that it is la Argerich playing, a joie de vivre that is immediately recognizable. 0

The Beethoven was recorded in 1983 with Seiji Ozawa conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks) playing in the Residenz Herkulessaal in Munich. This is not big-boned Beethoven, as one might have expected, but it's not chocolate-box either. Argerich strikes a no-nonsense attitude that serves this concerto well. Sound is quite good, quite lifelike. The piano is in the forefront, as is common in piano concerto recordings, but not obtrusively so. I may actually prefer the recording of the live performance with Szymon Goldberg and the Concertgebouw from 1993 largely because Goldberg is more stylish than Ozawa. Still the present recording is worth having.

Argerich's dry-eyed, unschmaltzy yet widely inflected Mozart No. 18 was recorded in 1973 with Eugen Jochum leading the same orchestra, this time in Kaisersaal, Würzburg. It certainly sounds as if the orchestra is reduced to what we now consider Classical Era size and the sound is crystal clear even if slightly recessed with a rather prominently foreground piano sound. The quality of the piano sound in both recordings is quite good. I don't know of any other Argerich recordings of this concerto and for that reason alone it is recommendable.

Scott Morrison
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great Mozart, very good Beethoven Sept. 8 2012
By Kirk List - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The live Mozart 18th concerto appeared first on an incorrectly titled Golden Melodram set:Great Conductors at the Piano- the title applied only to the Bach Four Keyboard concerto with four then-Munich- based conductors as soloists: Kempe, Kubelik, Fritz Rieger, and Sawallisch. The current Argerich re-issue wass one of the two subtantive reasons for purchasing the set. The other reason was the greatest Jupiter symphony in my experience (including Jochum's BSO and RCOA versions).Both the concerto and symphony were recorded at a BRSO concert at the 1974 Wurzburg Festival. Both I find flawless among some very good but not indispensable performances in the set, including a Grumiaux/Kempe Mozart Violin Concerto #5, a Brainin-Schidlof-Jochum Mozart Sinfonia Concertante k364, and a Casadesus-Jochum Mozart concerto #21.
Jochum employs a reduced BRSO in both, and had been doing so in Haydn and Mozart (at least) since the 1950s)-eg their Mozart 33,36,39, and 40. With Argerich the textures ars pellucid, are brisk but unrushed in the outer movements (definitely a plus with Argerich). The sublimely poetic second movement contains an especially gorgeous wind variation (// his LPO winds at the opening of Haydn #94). Argerich is both
emotional and virtuosic, with technique subservient to the music-not always true in her Mozart with the major exception of her great #25 with Szymon Goldberg on EMI.
I am definitely not an Ozawa fan, but he is good in this Beethoven #1- a bit heavy but not at all intolerable and a plus by contrast with Sinopoli in his Beethoven #1 with Argerich-she is excellent as usual. The Mozart 18 is one of the four best that I know. The others are Brendel/Marriner, Haebler/Davis, and Peter Serkin/Schneider. Peers in the Beethoven: Serkin/Ormandy, Fleisher/Szell, Lupu/Mehta, Richter/Ancerl, Gilels/Sanderling
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Argerich's Mozart is the whole reason to cherish this CD Sept. 16 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I can't add much after agreeing with all the points made by Scott Morrison in his review. Argerich is a splendid Mozart player, a rarity for a musician who has studiously avoided Mozart. Over a fifty=year career (hard to believe) she has recorded two solo concertos, K. 503, in a live concert setting under Szymon Goldberg (EMI), and K. 466, in a strikingly bold reading under Alexandre Rabinovitch. She also joins Rabinovitch as second piano in the duo concert, K. 365.

I agree with Mr. Morrison that this account of the Beethoven First from 1983, although beautifully played by the Bavarian Radio So, and in gorgeous sound, suffers from Ozawa's dull, literal conducting. It seems to have dampened Ms. Argerich's usual spontaneity; she gives a relatively straightforward reading, with flashes of temperament, until the finale. Even so, the Goldberg account feels more like her. How odd that she and richter both avoided playing the two greatest Beethoven concertos, no. 4 and the "emperor." They also share a classical bent toward the three early concertos, so one mustn't expect fire from Argerich; I'm just grateful that she lets her fancy run free in the finale here.

The Mozart, Concerto no. 18 in B flat K. 456 dates from the miracle year of 1784 that saw the outpouring of a stream of great piano concertos. This performance from 1973 finds the usually stolid Eugen Jochum in a perky mood, and the sound, although a bit thinner than the Beethoven, is still very good, well up to studio quality. The first movement has a cheerful, skipping theme that promises no clouds in the sky, which is very different in mood form the composers that Argerich gravitates to. She's bold and forceful, with not a hint of tinkly or mincing playing. The piano is placed far forward, no great flaw since Mozart's woodwind writing is not exceptionally prominent; they tend to play as a group without the piano and can be heard well.

Jochum ignores the "un poco sostenuto," which asks for a sustained legato. Argerich is not at all dreamy in this movement, strongly articulated every note. the absence of really soft or elegant playing will not appeal to everyone. Despite the tendency of period performers to make Mozart ever more dainty, clipped, and detached, for all we know he played this movement exactly this way. The finale, in a gamboling 6/8, is based on a theme that feels a bit insipid (dare one say so?), but it's handled with lively imagination, by both Mozart and Argerich. She's so lively and direct that one wishes she had given us half a dozen more examples.

So it's the Mozart that makes this CD so valuable, with the Beethoven being of incidental interest.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martha Argerich is Superb Pianist July 27 2010
By Louellen Mccoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Martha Argerich has always been one of my very favorite pianists. Upon hearing her play the Beethoveen Concerto on CBC, I had to order it immediately.
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