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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dolce con molto Fuoco
I have quite a few recordings of the Rach 3 by various pianists. Each artist delivers an exquisite and unique interpretation. By far, my personal favorite is performed by Ms. Martha Argerich.
WARNING: Your speakers may burst into flames by the power and passion delivered by Ms. Martha Argerich.
Another favorite of mine (on DVD: The Cliburn - Playing on the Edge)...
Published on Sept. 27 2003

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars "The Ultimate Rachmaninoff 3rd"? Far from it
This is one overhyped CD. Yes, Lady Martha plays like all the blazes, yes, you can almost hear the sonic booms behind her, and yes, she undoubtedly had about eighty espressos before she went out on stage. Yes, the orchestra struggles to keep up with her. Yes, it's electrifying. But the concerto isn't just about being electrifying. The opening theme, for example, is a...
Published on Aug. 13 2001 by The Man in the Hathaway Shirt


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dolce con molto Fuoco, Sept. 27 2003
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
I have quite a few recordings of the Rach 3 by various pianists. Each artist delivers an exquisite and unique interpretation. By far, my personal favorite is performed by Ms. Martha Argerich.
WARNING: Your speakers may burst into flames by the power and passion delivered by Ms. Martha Argerich.
Another favorite of mine (on DVD: The Cliburn - Playing on the Edge) is performed by Ms. Olga Kern. At 26, she tackles the Rach 3 and leaves you in awe.
Check out both performances. You will not regret it. Both are essential for your collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Tchaikovsky, but Rachmaninov misses the mark a bit., Sept. 26 2003
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
If you translate speed as 'firestorm' and 'rollercoaster ride' etc, as has been previously noted, and if you look for mainly rollercoasters and firestorms in the music of Rachmaninov, then
you will likely very much enjoy this cd. If, however, you require an expression of the Rachmaninov sensibility that can also be found in his other works, then it is my opinion that this interpretation is lacking in that area. Argerich does very well for herself and the music in the slower passages of this concerto, expressing the insight to Rachmaninov that she seems to lose sight of in the bravura passages. It also seems to me that she creates a bit of a muddle when she gives equal balance to her left hand where, in my opinion, the right hand should take precedence. This occassional lack of balance does not at all seem to be a technical error, but rather an interpretive one which results in the loss of sensibility and emotional continuity throughout the piece. Well, in any case, it is gratifying to see some of the reviewers take so much enjoyment in this recording. My only wish is that, in their enthusiasm for Ms Argerich' interpretation of the R3, they would not seem to exclude other interpretations that take a different perspective on the music(specifically the fine Ashkenazy). As to the Tchaikovsky: Although the engineering is lacking in self evident
ways, and with the exception a hard to ignore klunker in
the opening sequence of the concerto, Argerich does fine work
and shows the panache needed in this Tchaikovsky showpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It is like a beautiful ride on an amazing roller coaster, Sept. 18 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
Some complain about the recording balances on this disk. I suppose they have a point. It is a live recording and sometimes you have to take what you can get. At times things do sound a bit strange, but focus on the playing instead and you should be able to get over the recording issues in a hurry. This is exciting playing.
If you compare these versions to, say, Horowitz's recordings of these pieces (and I think that is the league Argerich is playing in), you will find a different kind of virtuosity. To me Horowitz at his peak still has greater control and especially more power, but it is just a matter of degree.
Argerich has a certain kind of mad excitement in these performances that make them her own. She has fabulous technical control that feels like it is always on the edge of falling off the track, but she never does. Just breathtaking!
These are two of the great piano concertos and Argerich is one of the great pianists. These performances are memorable, maybe recorded less than perfectly, but still recordings you will want to have in your collection. I have listened to this disk many times and still find it exhilarating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Recordings, Nov. 5 2002
By 
David A. Wend (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
This recording of the Third Piano Concerto of Rachmaninoff was touted as "the ultimate Rachmaninoff 3rd." Actually, Martha Argerich did not want this performance released because of the mistakes she had made. One would have to be a pianist of Ms. Argerich's caliber to find her mistakes. The passion and brilliance she brings to this performance far outweighs any errors, and this is a performance that has come to be regarded as a standard against which to compare new recording. Riccardo Chailly and the RSO Berlin provide magnificent support.
The Tchaikovsky First is played with similar brilliance and energy. I also have Ms. Argerich's earlier recording of this concerto from the 1960s (on DG) and would say that this performance is broader and less driven than the former. Ms. Argerich indeed likes to push the orchestra's tempo but I think she holds back a bit here and is more relaxed. She gets great support from Kirill Kondrashin and the Bayerischen Rundfunks players.
As has been pointed out, these are live recordings and have been digitally remastered, but I found the sound quality to be excellent. The audience is quiet during the performances; there is applause at the end of each concerto.
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4.0 out of 5 stars wild and exciting (perhaps too so), Feb. 3 2002
By 
C Drummond (England) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
These are very interesting recordings of two of the great Romantic piano concertos. They are both very fast recordings (though contrary to the editorial review, not as fast as Horowitz's seminal recordings with either Reiner or Barbirolli). Martha Argerich plays like a woman possessed which at times appears lacking in sensitivity or control. For instance, the chordal cadenza of the 1st movement of the Rachmaninoff sounds clumsy, and the flashy pianistic climax of the finale of the Tchaikovsky feels overly rushed. However, there are times, especially in the finale of the Rachmaninoff and the intermezzo of the Tchaikovsky, during which her style works wonderfully and shows unparalleled virtuosity. Overall the recordings are very satisfying, despite occasional mistakes and lapses in timing between the piano and orchestra. However, I have mentioned Vladimir Horowitz and I simply cannot recommend these recordings above his performances with Reiner (Rachmaninoff) and Toscanini (Tchaikovsky in the legendary War Bond concert). As an addition to those recordings though, this CD is a fine purchase.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dynamic and Explosive - a different take, Nov. 18 2001
By 
B. T. Byrd - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
John Grabowski's comments above really struck a chord with me. Upon first hearing this CD, my first reaction was "what the hell did Argerich do to the beauty of Rachmaninoff's concerto! Where's the soul!?" My favorite part of the first movement is the "series of rising variants on the theme, tension building to a great big fortissimo tutti" that John mentions above - each new chord relieving yet building upon the stress of the chord before it in an almost tragic struggle to resolve... none of this is apparent in Argerich's recording. I'd always used the Horowitz/Reiner recording as a basis for comparison to any copy of the Rach 3 - not as a "standard" but as a guide for how it should be done. . . it's all there - the tension, the beauty, and the power. Argerich's version shocked me, as I'm sure it shocked John. But for true reference, I went back to the master himself - a Naxos copy of Rachmaninoff playing the concerto himself in 1939. None of that tension is there! It's exactly the same as Argerich's apparent bastardization. This epiphany gave me a new respect for this particular recording, as it stays true to Rachmaninoff's vision.
Though I do prefer the emotive sound and almost painful beauty of the Horowitz/Reiner version, I appreciate having this modern classic as an alternative that (at least seems to) stay true to the original spirit of the concerto. It's rushed - it's less heroic - it's not as emotive or (IMHO) beautiful - but inaccurate? That it is not. Shy of five stars for the fact that the recording's not exactly sterling. . . but hey, it was live!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Over the Top, Nov. 5 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
Argerich certainly leaves nothing on the table here. Even after reading numerous reviews of these performances, I was not prepared for the velocity and attack that hit me. Now, after several hearings, I feel I can record some observations of these amazing live documents.
First, it *is* possible to play the Rachmaninoff 3rd too fast. I never thought I would hear a performance that achieved this, but I think Argerich goes beyond even the ideal fast tempo, so that the movement (alla breve) loses character, suffering mostly in the weight of the chords and the decorative notes. My reference has been the Wild/Horenstein recording: Wild's tempi are faster than most, but his greatest achievement is in the power with which he builds to climax. This is particularly telling in the shorter cadenza (also played by Argerich), where he creates tremendous tension without resorting to stunts (i.e., playing as rapidly as possible without regard to musicality).
To Argerich's credit, I doubt that Wild or even Horowitz could whip through octaves and scales at such speed. So the experience is unique, even if you feel like you are sitting under the bigtop.
The Argerich approach works much better in the Tchaikovsky, where the naturally impetuous music caters to her flights. The scherzo in the second movement passes in a shower of sparks! For me, this recording is much more competitive than the Rachmaninoff as a legitimate realization. Van Cliburn is much more stylish and regal with the same conductor, but she makes his tempos sound pokey. The listener must decide.
For connoisseurs of utmost virtuosity, speedfreaks, et al., this is definitely recommended. Interesting that Bryce Morrison's liner notes call her a tigress --- the animal metaphor can be extended to her technique (superhuman or not human) and ultimately, to her lack of sympathy for the music.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "The Ultimate Rachmaninoff 3rd"? Far from it, Aug. 13 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
This is one overhyped CD. Yes, Lady Martha plays like all the blazes, yes, you can almost hear the sonic booms behind her, and yes, she undoubtedly had about eighty espressos before she went out on stage. Yes, the orchestra struggles to keep up with her. Yes, it's electrifying. But the concerto isn't just about being electrifying. The opening theme, for example, is a mournful hymn of longing and nostalgia that in Argerich's hands is simply *fast.* See Spot. See Spot Run. See Spot Run Fast. But there's more to the "Rach 3" than this approach.
At the speeds at which she plays her tone tends to range from harsh to not quite so harsh. And her favorite expressive device seems to be rubato, which she can overuse. First movement, after exposition, the main theme comes back, followed by choppy playful piano part; then comes a series of rising variants on the theme, tension building to a great big fortissimo tutti. In those rising variants (sorry, I don't have a score in front of me so I can't give bar numbers) she varies and stretches the rubato almost to the point of pretension, to my ears. But whether it's "pretentious" or not, I've heard other pianists do so much more expressively with this section, altering the coloration of the notes, the pedaling, etc. But at the speed she is playing there's not much she apparently can do besides the push-pull rubato. It's dramatic and exciting the first time, but after repeated listenings it gets a little limiting. (Please note in reference to the reviewer above who said he listened to Rachmaninoff's own recording: I didn't say she does nothing here, just what she does is pretentious and frankly cliched.)
This performance is also poorly recorded (not her fault, of course), with a recessed and often muffled orchestra. There are key sections where the brass cannot be heard.
The Tchaikovksy is better-recorded and a little less extreme. It's a pleasurable concerto to listen to once in a while, but I've never been a full-time fan of this work. Martha's is as good as recording as anyone's but there are others, and the accompaniment is a little rough. A nice filler, but not a must-have.
All-in-all, this recording actually is worth owning, especially if you're a fan of virtuoso piano playing. But it's hardly the last word in the Rach 3, but its reputation is such that I fear many people, always looking for (and believing the hype about) "ultimate" recordings, will stop searching after acquiring this one, because after all the sticker on the shrink wrap says it's "The Ultimate Rachmaninoff 3rd," so it is, right? Nope. Worth hearing, definitely. Even worth owning perhaps (despite the warts outlined above, I still keep my copy), but there's still so much in this music that Argerich and company don't bring out. Besides, the Third is too rich a piece for any one version to be called "The Ultimate." Have a listen. There's a lot to enjoy. But beware the hype.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Rach 3, the Tchaikovsky is a wild bonus, May 4 2001
By 
Alexander Leach (Shipley, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
By general agreement the finest uncut recording of the Rachmaninov Third Concerto in modern sound is Martha Argerich's, recorded at a Berlin concert in 1982.
This is also available as part of an inexpensive 2 CD set as part of Philips' Great Pianists of the 20th Century series, and is shortly to be reissued at medium price in Philips 50th Anniversary series.
Most recordings of the Third Concerto that were made before the mid-1960s observed small cuts in the second and third movements. These include fine versions by Vladimir Horowitz on BMG/RCA from 1951, Earl Wild on Chandos, and Byron Janis in 1957 on BMG/RCA or 1963 on Mercury (the 1957 recording is preferable), but not Vladimir Ashkenazy's beautifully played Decca recording, also from 1963, which is complete.
Apart from his 1951 recording, Vladimir Horowitz (who was associated with this concerto for over 50 years) made two other commercial recordings, in 1930 and 1978, although the latter interpretation is better heard on a Deutsche Grammophon VHS video of a New York Philharmonic concert.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is what music making is all about, Dec 26 2000
By 
P. Rah "prahcello" (Sion, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Pno Ctos 1/3 (Audio CD)
Martha Argerich is an artist (in the full sense of the word) for whom I have the highest respect, for she is known as an extremely modest woman who doesn't consider herself a virtuoso (it must be the understatement of the century!), and shies away from solo glory, preferring chamber music more. I really admire this innocent modesty of this person, although I do feel that she should make more solo appearances as well as chamber music ones. Anyway, I'll now say a few things about this CD.It is a glorious disc, full stop.She has all the essences of what a virtuoso should be (and more), yet also armed with the gift of listening to other players (the qualities of a chamber musician). The Rakhmaninov is played with dashing brilliance. As the booklet note says, Argerich keeps her horsepower in reserve, until the last movement, so for the first two movements, one gets a reading of sensitivity, not just sheer brilliance. In the finale, however, all hell breaks loose. Argerich rips through the keyboard easily, and, in my opinion the most brilliant performance comes at the coda of the last movement. She makes it sound like a battle about to be won, with terrifying effect. She plays the fiendishly difficult final octaves with alarming ease and triumphs gloriously. Credit must go to the orchestra and Chailly as well. They provide a cushion of accompaniment, no matter how hard she is to follow. This is a communicative performance on both parts. This is one of the very few recordings which can be deemed great, if not the best (as judged on BBC Music Magazine in 1998). The Tchaikovsky is also brilliant. She makes the often cliched first movement sound fresh, and is on top form, although the cadenza was somewhat messy. The slow movement is a floating performance, with Argerich's famous articulation clarly audible. Last movement is played with, as in the Rakhmaninov, a sense of communication, playing WITH the orchestra rather than against, as this movement is so often played. Kondrashin, the great Russian maestro, fully captures the Russian idiom of this work. I personally recommend the DG version of the Tchaikovsky with Claudio Abbado and Berlin Philharmonic, as it holds together in the more cohesive way than this performance, but as this is a live recording, one has expect the whole package, warts and all. It is a most highly enjoyable disc, to which I find myself applauding with the audience on the CD at the end everytime I listen to it. Both concertos highly recommended, with the Rakhmaninov emerging as the stronger winner. This is what music-making is all about: Soloist's virtuosity, the communion between orchestra and conductor, orchestra and soloist and joie de vivre in the playing.
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Pno Ctos 1/3
Pno Ctos 1/3 by R-Berlin Radi Argerich/Chailly (Audio CD - 1995)
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