[28] Martha Argerich – Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3 & Ravel Piano Concerto in G

18 Oct

Here is an example of Moon choosing to highlight the performer rather than the composer of a Classical piece, and for very good reason.  Martha Argerich‘s playing is fluid and fierce, dragging the orchestra around the compositions by the nose and the result is breathtaking.

Piano Concertos

Piano Concertos











After a couple of misses, I was unsure how I was going to react to another Classical recording I was unfamiliar with. I needn’t have worried.

The technical proficiency on display is astounding and undeniable all by itself. That it is paired with such touch, such palpable feel seems almost unfair. It had been my experience that a pianist fell into one camp or the other – technique or passion – so from the first this is a revelation.

Throughout the Prokofiev, Argerich ‘s fingers fly up and down the scales in clean and rapid runs, often at the very right hand limit of the instrument’s range, and I am mystified by how she plays so quickly and accurately without sacrificing subtlety.

Even the slower passages are crammed full of beautiful, evocative notes.

By contrast, the Ravel is all slinky business, the opening hinting strongly at Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue”. It is interesting to hear the clear jazz influences here, so after all my raving for the jazz I’ve discovered to date in the 1,000, it is a little ironic that it is the more traditional Prokofiev Concerto I find more immediately engaging.

That said, listening to Argerich play anything would seem to be a joy, and the Berlin Philharmonic are generous partners in these performances, allowing and enabling the soloist to shine.

In theory I would like to hear more Piano Concertos – perhaps even different recordings of these two – to discover if the pianist is always so obviously the star rather than the music itself.

In practice I think I’ll just listen to the mastery on display here again and again.

Owned before blogging? No. (2 of 28. 7%)
Heard before blogging? No. (4 of 28. 14%)
Recommend? Yes. (23 of 28. 82%)

Next Week: Louis Armstrong – Hot Fives and Hot Sevens

4 Responses to “[28] Martha Argerich – Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3 & Ravel Piano Concerto in G”


  1. [38] Johann Sebastian Bach – The Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - December 27, 2013

    […] as I drift away. The difference in approach between these solo pieces and Martha Argerich’s piano concertos is striking – an entirely different technique for an entirely different style of […]

  2. [52] Bela Bartok – Concerto for Orchestra / Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - April 4, 2014

    […] At times this has paid off beautifully (for example the case of the pyrotechnic skill and color of Martha Argerich, or the sweeping arc of Bach’s Concertos), but elsewhere the experience has left me bemused […]

  3. [75] Ludwig van Beethoven – The Five Piano Concertos | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - September 12, 2014

    […] anything I heard by Bartok, but would choose to listen to Martha Argerich’s renditions of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 3 over Serkin’s Beethoven […]

  4. [116] James Booker – New Orleans Jazz Wizard Live | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - June 26, 2015

    […] Live down to merely its technical merits does it a huge disservice.  Much as I discovered with Martha Argerich way back in the as it is quickly apparent that there is feel and nuance here to spare, elevated […]

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