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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on April 28, 2000
I am usually Argerich's biggest fan. I simply don't care for this recording of the Rachmaninoff. Maybe, it is because I've also performed the piece with orchestra over a ten year period, and so have my own view of the piece. In my opinion her tempos, particularly in the last movement sound like a pianist who is not thoroughly in control of the notes. It is almost as if she is trying to cover up an inferior technic, as an undeveloped student usually does, by playing fast. I know that this is most definitely NOT the case. But, why does she virtually ruin the piece by turning it into a Czerny Etude? Listen to the early Horowitz recordings for an artist in TOTAL command of the notes... My view seems to be verified by other pianists I personally know, but it is not apparently upheld by public opinion. One wonders what Rachmaninoff would have thought, with his much "cooler" approach. He probably would have found this performance "hysterical." Let's remember that he didn't intend it as an empty finger exercise.
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on April 24, 2003
I purchased this CD based upon many favorable reviews on and by Argerich�s success with the concertos of Prokofiev and Ravel. The assumption was that if one can successfully master Prokofiev�s 3rd, one can play the Rach 3rd with equal aplomb. Bad assumption.
Ms. Argerich plays with passion. Unfortunately, this passion comes at the cost of articulation. We can blame the recording engineers for some the sonic confusion (and they deserve it in these two �live� recordings), but the individual notes are not well defined and seemed slurred in these performances. Its easier to forgive mistakes in playing these pieces than it is to excuse her lack of emphasis and articulation. In her defense, she was more successful with Tchaikovsky than with Rachmaninoff.
On the sonic side, these recordings are an engineering nightmare. The piano is close-miked in the Rachmaninoff concerto so at times it covers 100% of the stage. Sometimes you can hear the treble keys coming out of the left speaker, only, while the bass is emanating from the right. It is clear that the engineers emphasized the piano, which often overpowered the orchestra. I should probably be flattered: this is the first time I have heard the Rach 3rd while perched on the lap of the pianist.
Although better in the Tchaikovsky performance, the sound engineering still hampered the performance in that piece, too. The piano which usually appeared on the right, managed to move to middle stage more than once. The dynamics in this recording were also mediocre at best, and not the least bit enveloping.
If we are supposed to excuse the limitations of �live� recordings, the faults should at least be unavoidable and not self-induced. (I did not even mention the prevalent tape hiss in the quiet passages of the Rach concerto.) In the end, the distractions from the sound engineers forces a thumbs-down on these recordings. For the Rach concerto, consider Ashkenazy/Previn or Gutierrez/Maazel. For Tchaikovsky, try Van Cliburn/Kondrashin, Giles/Mehta, or Watts/Levi.
If I did not already own prior performances by Ms. Argerich, I might have written her off forever after listening to this disaster.
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