Sonata for 2 pianos KV 448

Variations on an original theme D 813

The Rite of Spring
(Version for Piano Duet)
Int. Release 20 Oct. 2014
1 CD
0289 479 3922 1 CD DDD GH

Track List

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Sonata in D Major for 2 Pianos, K.448


Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)
Igor Stravinsky (1882 - 1971)
Le Sacre du Printemps

Version for Piano Duet (published 1913)

Daniel Barenboim, Martha Argerich

Total Playing Time 1:15:25

These two great artists can be heard, right from the opening of the "Allegro con spirit" of Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D, K448, working around each other intuitively, two giants of the keyboard bringing their formidable artistry together. There is a real joy here in the way that they combine their two very unique personalities and personal ideas. There is a playfulness in the way they approach each other, vying for a voice yet dovetailing brilliantly together. And what a terrific coda. Barenboim and Argerich bring a lovely gentle flow, a leisurely walking pace to the "Andante". If in the "Allegro" two friends vied to tell their story, here we have a natural relaxed dialogue between friends. It is wonderful how each line of the music comes through distinctively whilst blending so well. This is a glorious played movement. What a terrific, rollicking "Allegro molto" they bring, at times no holds barred, full of energy and flamboyance, yet never losing sight of the finer nuances of the music. This is a tremendous performance . . . These two bring a freedom and breadth to Schubert's "Variations on an Original Theme" in E flat, D.813 with a fine rubato and flexibility of tempo as well as lovely little decorative details and flourishes, never losing sight of Schubert's inwardness in the more introspective moments. Their ensemble is spot on, as though of one mind, yet always creatively free. The more dynamic moments are absolutely tremendous, free and spontaneous. They produce a vital, dynamic sound particularly in the coda. Without doubt the most striking performance on this disc is of Stravinsky's four hands arrangement of his "Le Sacre du Printemps" . . . [in the "Premiere Partie L'adoration de la terre"] there is a lovely languid, almost ghostly feeling to the opening. As the music progresses these two pianists provide some fine overlaying of dissonances, absolutely wonderful, giving full vent to their freedom of approach and spontaneity, a real clash of two giants. There are tremendous dynamic, forceful chords as the dance rhythms become more dramatic. They build each surge and each climax brilliantly. Eventually the languid tempo returns around which there are fine decorations before the great dissonant outbursts and a terrific climax. As we are led into "Deuxieme Partie le Sacrafice" . . . the ghostly, other worldly atmosphere returns. There is often playing of great sensitivity and delicacy. When the dynamics and tempo suddenly increase these artists show a terrifically light touch in this intensely rhythmic music, with some fine pedalling. The music builds with quieter, intense passages to a formidable climax. I defy anyone to find a finer, more awe-inspiring performance of "Le Sacre". With a vivid recording and very little audience noise, except for the applause that is kept in, this new release is highly recommended.

This is sensational: two of the world's greatest pianists coming together for a seemingly spontaneous joint recital that hits dizzy heights of excitement . . . can the adolescents' dance ever have sounded more eloquent than under Barenboim's fingers, or the spring rounds more hypnotic than Argerich makes them? Even in this seismically brutal music, neither of them ever makes an ugly sound, while in Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos, K448 and Schubert's "Variations on an Original Theme" D 813, their flexible, improvisatory approach lifts the music aloft.

The Stravinsky especially erupts like a volcano . . . [Mozart / Sonata for 2 Pianos K. 448]: Barenboim's light, singing touch in the Primo part keeps the andante spry, free of all preciosity.

Here are two of the great living superstars of classical piano completely living up to their transcendent reputations in performance together . . . All of which is performed on the kind of level that gives virtuosity a good name, no matter what peevish puritanism one might bring to the conversation. The piece that may well make this disc an enduring classic in two-piano performance is their searing pyrotechnic performance of Stravinsky's two-piano arrangement of his "Le Sacre du Printemps" . . . I doubt strongly we'll ever again hear the likes of this performance of Stravinsky's two-piano version of "Le Sacre" in our time. One of the year's great classical discs.

. . . [besonders quirlig und packend klingt] die Mozart-Sonate in D-Dur für zwei Klaviere. Die Funken sprühen und die Beiden haben offensichtlich Spaß, sich die Bälle an zwei Flügeln zuzuspielen. Romantischer, aber nicht weniger brillant gelingt ihnen Schuberts Variationen in A-Dur. Ein Gespür für richtiges Timing, für Farben, aber auch für stilistische Unterschiede macht diese Liveaufnahme so gelungen . . . [Strawinsky / "Le Sacre du Printemps"]: Am Anfang betörend wie ein Lockruf, später ekstatisch und die jeweilige Stimmung immer zu 150 Prozent verkörpernd -- wenn man Argerich und Barenboim zuhört, wird man förmlich in die Musik hineingesogen . . . [die zwei lassen] hier Musik wirklich lebendig werden . . . [und kommunizieren] miteinander auf höchstem Niveau . . .

Doigts de fée pour un quatre mains signé Argerich et Barenboim . . . Une délicieuse conversation hors du temps entre deux géants . . .