ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Artistry of Martha Argerich
PERFORMER: Martha Argerich (piano); various orchestras & conductors
CATALOGUE NO: 461 858-2 ADD/DDD Reissue (1961-95)
This DG collection is presumably intended, in Britain at least, to capitalise on the impact of Argerich’s latest Proms appearance. As such, and in spite of a leaflet marred by near-illegible print and inadequate dating of its contents, it is unusually attractive: a summary of an enthralling career across its first three decades. The blaze of youth – represented by the early Chopin, Prokofiev and Liszt solos – has never been dimmed, the fire, spontaneity and impetuosity never tamed (I defy anyone to remain seated during the finale of Argerich’s ‘live’ Rachmaninoff Third Concerto).
But maturity has brought infinite enrichment; and one feature this sampler disc cannot adumbrate for the uninitiated is the bloom that radiates from Argerich’s most recent recordings, those made for EMI. What it does adumbrate, successfully, is her limitless artistry, whether in solo performance, chamber music or concerto. It is, indeed, the portrait of a miraculously multi-faceted virtuoso in full flight. Max Loppert