The artist as a young Woman!
On occasion I like to listen to music by a performer that was recorded 40-50 years ago. In this case it is none other than Martha Argerich when her age was in the range of 18-26. These are Chopin treasures done by Ms. Argerich, and it is Deutsche Grammophon’s way of celebrating the Chopin 200th anniversary.
Ms. Argerich was the winner of the 7th International Frédérick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, with special prizes given her for mazurkas and waltzes. To this very day, I can hear Ms. Argerich’s passion and intensity in her interpretations. The youthful Ms. Argerich certainly displayed her musical passion and intensity in these performances as a young woman, and that made Chopin’s music so exciting…
The performance of Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Opus 23 at age 18 is an amazing pianistic performance: marvelous technique, heightened drama, and astounding timing, all the more remarkable given her young age. This is followed 8 years later performances of Chopin’s challenging Étude Opus 10, No. 4, in C sharp minor, with Argerich exploding arpeggios in showers of notes as the piece ebbs and flows in intensity from hand to hand. Also on this CD are the Mazurka No. 36 in A minor, Opus 59, No 1; the Mazurka No. 38 in F sharp minor Opus 59 No.3; as well as the other Mazurkas and Nocturnes that show us masterful and deeply emotional playing. But the Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58, recorded live at the Hochschule fuer Musik in Berlin, is the true high point of this CD, especially the Allegro maestoso, the fascinating Largo, and the stormy Finale with that last, long sizzling wall-to-wall arpeggios.
Here is an audio extract of the 4th movement from the Chopin, Piano Sonata No. 3: