This is a reissue in "The Originals" series of Ms Argerich's first studio recording from 1961. Thrown in for good measure is the Liszt sonata, recorded 11 years later. Without question this is one of the most spectacular piano recordings of recent times, containing as it does a superabundance of exciting, instinctive, effortless, consummately shaded, and utterly convincing pianism. The fleet, high-strung Liszt sonata has plenty of breathtaking moments as well, with perhaps more lightning than thunder, but it is still an imposing totality. Sonically these recordings wear their years lightly and sound as fresh as ever.
It must be said, however, that except for the short Ravel and Prokofieff
works, serious pianophiles have already had access to these performances
via earlier (and still available) CDs; in fact this is at least the
third time around for the Chopin items. At this point it would be
very appropriate for DG to start cleaning up the mess it has made
with its Argerich catalog, which is overloaded with reissues, recouplings,
rehashes, rearrangements, and redundancies. Odd, isn't it, that with
all the effort expended, no one at DG seems to have noticed that two
of Argerich's finest recordings - the Ravel Valses Nobles et Sentimentales
and Chopin's Andante Spianato and Polonaise - have never appeared
on CD. (Both are singled out for special praise in the booklet accompanying
this release.) It is high time for DG to get its act together and
make available ALL the Argerich recordings without the idiotic duplications.
A pianist of her stature deserves no less. So do we.