Chopin - Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2
Martha Argerich pf Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Charles Dutoit
EMI 556798-2 Buy now
(69’ · DDD)
Martha Argerich’s first commercially released recordings of the Chopin concertos were for DG; No 1 in 1968, No 2 in 1978. Here she revisits both concertos and offers an act of re-creative daring, of an alternating reverie and passion that flashes fire with a thousand different lights. Indeed, her earlier performances are infinitely less witty, personal and eruptive, less inclined to explore, albeit with the most spontaneous caprice and insouciance, so many new facets, angles and possibilities. Now, everything is accomplished without a care for studios and microphones, and with a degree of involvement that suggests an increase rather than a diminution of her love for these works.
The recordings are impressively natural and if Dutoit occasionally seems awed if not cowed into anonymity by his soloist (the opening tuttis to the slow movements of both concertos are less memorable than they should be) he sets off Argerich’s charisma to an exceptional degree. Argerich’s light burns brighter than ever. Rarely in their entire history have the Chopin concertos received performances of a more teasing allure, brilliance and idiosyncrasy.