BEETHOVEN Piano Concertos 2+3 Argerich 4775026

These two live recordings . . . will be rapturously welcomed . . . Full of high spirits and thoughtfulness. A marvellous disc.

Any new recording from Martha Argerich is an eagerly anticipated event, particularly when it includes an all-too-rare addition to her repertoire. Add to the equation Claudio Abbado and the Mahler CO and thins look encouraging indeed . . . When the Argentinean lioness makes her entry, she roars up those ascending scales, matching Abbado's energy with strongly muscular playing that has all her characteristic fire . . . there are many things of great beauty. Argerich is peerless in the opening chords of the Largo; she dances away beautifully when the finale takes off . . . and her first-movement cadenza is a genuine adrenalin rush . . . The Second Concerto . . . actually sounds faster because of the lightness of touch Abbado brings to the orchestra and Argerich's more propulsive accents . . . this is a winner of a performance. Argerich bounds in . . . with wonderfully lithe and leggiero playing. She and Abbado have a delightfully opera buffa-ish take on the allegro con brio, without ever making the work feel less of a masterpiece than the Third. Once again, her cadenza is a no-hold-barred affair and everywhere her sparkling musical mind is in evidence . . . to hear how she turns a simple accompanying figure into exquisite filigree, or Abbado's ideal balancing of the closing chords of the same movement. This is high-class music-making indeed. The balance of piano and orchestra is well managed . . .

Argerich continues to astonish . . . Argerich plays with the blend of immaculate tone, bravura technique and temperament that have placed her at the pianistic peak . . . a scintillating performance . . . This superb disc is a masterful account.

It is, quite simply, an essential record -- and this applies even to those who have little interest in classical recordings. Its fierce percussive brilliance and spontaneity transcend genre barriers.

The collaboration with Argerich is not in any way disappointing: far from it . . . What I admired here was the orchestral playing and conducting. In both works Abbado's lively tempi seem entirely apt . . . Performances: Sparks fly. Recordings: Very good.

The Second Concerto . . . shows: the verve, incisiveness and post-Mozartian roguishness of her playing all appeal strongly. So do Abbado's and the orchestra's contributions, which are both tidy and full of energy.

(Martha Argerich) Indisputably one of the most formidable and exciting pianists of the last 50 years . . . she has ideal partners in the conductor Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra . . . The performance captured here is dynamic and engrossing. Ms. Argerich plays with uncanny clarity, rhythmic vigor, wondrous colorings and engaging spontaneity . . . Argerich's playing is so styly witty that you would think that she were making up each phrase on the spot. The final is a joyous romp, though in every scurrying piano passage you sense intensity lurking just below the surface.

I think there are few greater risk takers . . . She plays Beethoven . . . with insightful maturity and the abandon of an adolescent.

I would unhesitatingly choose to give the DVD of the 1979 Strauss "Der Rosenkavalier" from Munich: this classic performance should afford a lifetime's pleasure . . . Carlos Kleiber's conducting ideally balances romantic warmth and soufflé-like élan in a reading superbly played by the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra . . . They all combine . . . an exemplary interpretation of a much-loved work. I would like to receive Martha Argerich's performances with Claudio Abbado of two Beethoven concertos. I always find my spirits lifted and my ears astonished by everything this probing if excentric pianist does. To hear her in works not often offered in concert will surely be an experience to savour with a festive glass in hand.

. . . even when she is playing repertoire as familiar and over-recorded as this, she
has something unique to offer.

Vom ersten bis zum letzten Ton erweist sich die Pianistin als überlegene Gestalterin, die immer wieder energisch zupackt, sich wo nötig aber auch ganz zurücknimmt . . . der virtuosen Brillanz der Solistin und ihrem spannungsvollen Dialogisieren mit dem von Claudio Abbado geleiteten Mahler Chamber Orchestra kann man sich jedoch kaum entziehen. Dieselben Partner standen der Pianistin auch bei einer Live-Aufnahme des B-Dur-Klavierkonzerts im Februar 2000 (ebenfalls in Ferrara) zur Seite. Höchster technischer Schliff, straffe Tempi und glasklare Transparenz prägen diese Aufführung . . .

Hier . . . zeigt Martha Argerich auch, was alles noch in ihr steckt: Revolutionär bis verträumt, forsch und dann wieder behutsam-zart klingen die beiden Mitschnitte aus Ferrara von 2000 und 2004. Claudio Abbado und sein Mahler Chamber Orchestra, weiterhin in Hochform, sekundieren bei diesem erzählerischen Zugang, der mit wunderbar variiertem Anschlag Tastenmühe in reinen Seelenton verwandelt. Ein Glück, dass es solche Altmeister gibt.

. . . elektrisierend spielt sie es, prallvoll mit Leben. In den Ecksätzen gibt es ein pianistisches Feuerwerk mit Orchesterbeilage . . . Sehr leichtfüßig und fast burschikos kommt . . . der erste Satz des Zweiten Konzerts . . . daher. »Deeply thought« und tief ausgelotet, der weite Satz. Voller Spannkraft und federnder Eleganz das Rondo. Superb, Madame Argerich!

Die DG war live mit dabei, und das Ergebnis, so wie es jetzt auf CD vorliegt, ist phänomenal. Eine prickelnd gespannte Atmosphäre, ein sehr beredtes Dialogisieren zwischen Orchester und Solistin, die mit kräftigem Zugriff ihren Einspruch geltend zu machen versteht. Der vorwärts drängende Impuls ihres Klavierspiels reißt den Zuhörer mit; die pure Leuchtkraft ihrer Klänge stellt die musikalischen Abläufe ins erhellendste Licht.

Wenn zwei solche Musik-Besessene wie Artha Argerich und Claudio Abbado, die sich schon seit 50 Jahren kennen und schätzen, im nunmehr reifen Alter von 62 bzw. 70 Jahren erneut zusammenfinden, um ihre alterslose Musizier-Leidenschaft an einem der unerbittlichsten Geister der Klassik zu entfachen, dann darf man etwas Besonderes erwarten -- zumal es sich bei Argerichs Soloeinsatz in Beethovens drittem Klavierkonzert sogar um eine späte Schallplattenpremiere handelt . . . Vor allem im janusköpfigen c-Moll-Konzert, das bei anderen gerne zur düsteren Staatsaktion aufgebläht wird, gelingt es ihr, mit geradezu kindlicher Offenheit und Heldenmut, den fast verloren gegangenen Gestus des Improvisatorischen, des rebellischen Experiments, des neuartigen Dur-Moll-Vexierspiels zu reanimieren und so das Mysterium des ersten Satzes, die Seelentiefe des zweiten und das Verwirrspiel des dritten neu erlebbar zu machen -- selbst für den, der das Evergreen schon hundert Mal gehört hat . . . unbeschwert pulsierend: das bereits 2000 von italienischen Radiotechnikern aufgezeichnete B-Dur-Konzert. Und Abbado spielt in beiden Fällen den Part des klugen, umsichtigen, abgeklärten Freundes, lässt die Herzensimpulse zwischen der Pianistin und seinen jungen Musikern frei fluten.

Fantastisch, wie Frau Argerich trotz ihres Alters das uns allen so bekannte Werk derart spannend bringt, dass es einen vom Sitz hochschleudert. Sie perlt wie in alten Zeiten, aber mit noch mehr Dynamik und Agogik. Feinstes Zusammenspiel mit Abbado. Wer die Aufnahme noch nicht gehört hat, hat etwas versäumt. [Leserbrief]

La réussite de ce disque revient tout d'abord à Claudio Abbado, qui semble retrouver toute sa fougue au contact des jeunes musiciens de l'Orchestre de chambre Gustav Mahler: ils nous régalent ici de sonorités sveltes, dégraissées, de graves nets, de lignes limpides, de cuivres tranchants, de bois agrestes, de fortissimos fulgurants . . . Argerich relève manifestement le défi: elle aussi fouilla la partition, met en relief chaque détail, fait vivre chaque changement d'humeur . . . elle atteint les mêmes sommets expressifs. Que dire de son Largo, méditatif, presque hésitant au début, allant et même ailé ensuite, qui ne traîne ni ne pèse, et cependant vibrant d'émotion! Dans la section ombreuse, le piano s'efface, devient comme fantomatique, laisse les vents distiller la mélancolie, avant une fin sublime où l'orchestre se fait à sont tour diaphane. Dans le Finale, le jeu incisif et les nuances inventives d'Argerich, l'orchestre aérien d'Abbado dispensent un charme et un brio incomparables, d'un caractère sans doute plus juvénile et plus juste que le grandiose d'Uchida-Sanderling. Lees mêmes qualités rendent leur interprétation du Concerto no 2 encore plus indispensable . . . Ici, Abbado et elle usent de tempos fringants inhabituels, rivalisent de vivacité, et donnent aux mouvements extrêmes une atmosphère de fièvre, d'excitation, d'urgence qui évoque les ouvertures d'opéras de Mozart. Le piano se fait incisif, aérien, joueur, mutin, presque moqueur ou persifleur, et échange avec l'orchestre des répliques pétillantes d'esprit. L'Adagio reste toujours naturel, intime et prenant, l'orchestre se gardant heureusement d'outrances et de grandiloquences déplacées . . . Le Finale, effervescent, endiablé, «déboutonné», s'avère d'un charme irrésistible.

El Concierto N° 3 es una obra maestra que da la oportunidad a esta gran artista de hacer gala de su proverbial y luminosa sutileza, incluso en aquellos pasajes como el Rondó del tercer movimiento, cuya profunda y alegre ironía es vivamente expresada en su interpretación. A ello se une la sabiduría desbordante del eternamente joven Abbado.

Argerich es una artista sumamente lírica. ... uno de los [discos] más elegantes de los últimos diez años.

... un Beethoven comedido, delicado, puntillista, dicho en zapatillas, que subraya las facetas más clásicas, más etéreas y abstractas de estas dos hermosas obras. Argerida y Abbado se entienden a las mil maravillas y la Orquesta de Cámara Mahler ... aporta la frescura, la mirada limpia de quien contempla estos pentagramas sin condicionantes previos. Un Beethoven, pues, "delicioso", en el mejor sentido del término ...

Non finiremo mai di stupirci della capacità di Abbado di rinnovarsi, di guardare alle nuove tendenze della composizione musicale ma anche ai nuovi parametri esecutivi delle opere della tradizione. [. . .] Nel Secondo Concerto per pianoforte [. . .] la tensione si concretizzava in un serratissimo dialogo tra l'orchestra e il pianoforte di Martha Argerich. [. . .] La carica emotiva ed il suono robusto e allo stesso tempo chiaro di Martha Argerich inseguivano la leggera piattaforma tematica ordita da Abbado in un instancabile e delicatissimo gioco di intuizioni, proposte e risposte che solo l'ormai pluridecennale frequentazione di questi due artisti poteva permettersi salvaguardando, grazie alla loro invidiabile intesa, un equilibrio tanto sottile quanto prezioso e ricco delle più ricercate sfumature.

Abbado's capacity for self-renewal, his ability to keep in touch with new trends in musical composition as well as new performance practice in repertory works is a constant source of amazement . . . In the Second Piano Concerto . . . the tension produced the closest possible dialogue between the orchestra and Martha Argerich's piano . . . Argerich's playing, with its emotional charge and robust but clear sound, followed the delicate thematic support that Abbado provided, and the endless succession of spontaneous ideas that they bounced off each other could only have come from a relationship that dates back decades, achieving a poise that is as finely-judged as it is full of subtlety.

Abbado non sembra interessato al suono "bello", "pulito": gli piace di più comprimerlo e rilasciarlo, irruvidirlo: dentro questo guscio, appaiono più nette morbidezze e sensualità. Svetta la libertà "gaucha" di Martha Argerich che nel Secondo Concerto inventa sbalzi di dinamica rapinosi, anticipi assassini e regala come bis un Preludio di Bach volante eppure correttissimo, non una nota, non un'entrata saltate.

Abbado does not seem interested in making a "beautiful" or "clean" sound: he prefers to squeeze the sound and then release it, roughen it: all his clear-cut tenderness and sensuality is contained within these confines. The sort of gaucho-like freedom of Martha Argerich's playing comes to the fore in the Second Piano Concerto when she produces sudden, turbulent dynamic changes and provocative anticipations, and then rewards us with an encore of a swift-moving Bach Prelude that is absolutely note-perfect, with not a single missed entry.

Abbado scopre i tasti segreti di Beethoven. [. . .] Una solista di assoluta eccezione come Martha Argerich ha proposto il Concerto n. 2 per pianoforte e orchestra di Beethoven. [. . .] Di rara bellezza la fluidità del fraseggio, così come l'osmosi delle sonorità tra orchestra e strumenti solista. [. . .] Alla gioiosità e al virtuosismo esibito del primo tempo, proposto dalla Argerich con un tocco adamantino e un vitalismo travolgente, ha fatto seguito un Adagio di toccante fascino. Il Molto allegro finale è stato un caleidoscopio di invenzioni che ha trascinato il pubblico all'entusiasmo.

Abbado reveals Beethoven's secrets . . . Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto was played by Martha Argerich, an absolutely exceptional artist . . . There was a rare beauty to her fluid phrasing, and to the perfect understanding between orchestra and soloist . . . After Argerich's joyous display of virtuosity in the first movement, with a touch that is diamond-hard and full of vitality, she achieved a touching beauty in the central Adagio. The final Molto allegro was a kaleidoscope of invention that swept the audience along and roused them to an enthusiastic reception.

. . . Argerich che si lascia condurre al pianoforte da Abbado . . . Lui le prepara un'orchestra carica di colori, un Beethoven pieno di mordente e di passione che è una sorpresa per tutti. E lei dalla tastiera ci mette una incredibile carica espressiva.

. . . At the keyboard, Argerich follows Abbado's lead . . . He offers her a range of orchestral colour, a Beethoven full of spirit and passion, that takes everyone by surprise. And from the keyboard she contributes an incredible expressive charge.

Con Abbado a 'Ferrara' trionfa la 'Musica' [. . .] È un'esperienza d'ascolto impareggiabile, un modo per riscoprire un concerto noto ai più e generalmente identificato come l'ultimo tra i "mozartiani". Ma la Argerich e Abbado, assolutamente complementari tra loro, tendono verso un'interpretazione più terrena e sentimentale, ma sempre lucida e contenuta entro un argine di razionalità. Martha Argerich offre una cadenza sublime, fatta di suoni rarefatti sui quali l'orchestra di Abbado si inserisce e sostiene con impalpabile precisione, ma poi si concede un Allegro finale vorticoso, in cui le difficoltà sembrano essere sparite e ci si abbandona alla musica, con un esito mozzafiato.

Abbado's appearance in Ferrara was a triumph for music [. . .] There is nothing to compare with this opportunity to rediscover a well-known concerto, one that is usually thought of as the last of the Mozartian works. But Argerich and Abbado, completely complementing one another, take a more human, sentimental view, although their approach is always logical and rational. Martha Argerich played a sublime cadenza, full of the most rarefied sounds, which Abbado's orchestra sustained and commented on with delicacy and precision, but then launched into a whirling Allegro finale, in which all difficulties seemed to have ironed out and the music was in full charge, with breathtaking results.