Because of her commadning reputation -- and her refusal to play solo recitals -- Martha Argerich has the clout to revive the genre of two-piano music, with its musty Victorian parlor overtones. She is even eccentric enough to avoid the great music written by Schubert and Mozart for four hands in order to concetrate, for the most part, on arrangements of works like The Nutcracker Suite that are better served by their orchestral originals.
Still, if you are enthusiastic about two-piano music at all, it's hard to argue against Argerich's brilliance. EMI has drawn this bargain two-fer from summer concerts at Lugano, Switzerland (collectors of the 'Martha Argerich and Friends' series that comes out annually will own everything here already, with one or two exceptions). The remake of the Nutcracker isn't quite as delicte and entracing as her DG account, and the Rachmaninov Suite #2 is just as hectic as her first version on Teldec.
For me, the best items are the Brahms, because the composer had a hand in them, and because the Sonata in F minor is a genuine alternative to the familiar Piano Quintet. The Var. on a Theme by Haydn is also sometimes heard outside its well-known orchewtral setting. These two works get inspired performances here. Since they would easily fill a whole CD, one can look on the rest as free fill-ups even if you already own the DG and Teldec versions.
If you missed the product description, here's the whole program:
Brahms: Sonata for 2 pianos in F minor, Op. 34b Martha Argerich (piano) & Lilya Zilbertstein (piano) Variations on a theme by Haydn, Op. 56b for 2 Pianos Martha Argerich (piano) & Polina Leschenko (piano) Lutoslawski: Variations on a Theme of Paganini for 2 Pianos Martha Argerich (piano) & Giorgia Tomassi (piano) Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 'Classical' Transcribed for two pianos by Rikuya Terashima Martha Argerich (piano) & Yefim Bronfman (piano) Rachmaninov: Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17 Martha Argerich (piano) & Gabriela Montero (piano) Six Pieces, Op. 11 Six Morceaux for piano four hands Lilya Zilberstein (piano) & Martha Argerich (piano) Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a Transcribed for two pianos by Nicolas Economu Martha Argerich (piano) & Mirabela Dina (piano)