Deutsche Grammophon www.deutschegrammophon.com was on hand to record Martha Argerich http://marthargerich.blogspot.co.uk and Daniel Barenboim www.danielbarenboim.com live in performances of works by Mozart, Schubert and Stravinsky
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These two great artists can be heard, right from the opening of the Allegro conn 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 that must surely compete with my other favourite, Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu on Sony.
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 (The Rite of Spring). In the Premiere Partie L’adoration de la terre (Part One - The Adoration of the Earth) 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 (Part Two the Sacrifice), 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.
Video clips from these performances, giving a flavour of the atmosphere at the concert, can be seen on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=324cR36pDiA