Home » Projects » Early Recordings » Album

Track Listing:

Mozart: Piano Sonata No.18 In D, K.576 - Allegro
Mozart: Piano Sonata No.18 In D, K.576 - Adagio
Mozart: Piano Sonata No.18 In D, K.576 - Allegretto
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.7 In D, Op.10 No.3 - Presto
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.7 In D, Op.10 No.3 - Largo e mesto
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.7 In D, Op.10 No.3 - Menuetto (Allegro)
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.7 In D, Op.10 No.3 - Rondo (Allegro)
Prokofiev: Toccata, Op.11
Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit, M.55 - Ondine
Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit, M.55 - Le gibet
Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit, M.55 - Scarbo
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No.3 In A Minor, Op.28
Ravel: Sonatine, M.40 - Modere
Ravel: Sonatine, M.40 - Mouvement de menuet
Ravel: Sonatine, M.40 - Anime
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No.7 In B Flat, Op.83 - Allegro inquieto
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No.7 In B Flat, Op.83 - Andante caloroso
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No.7 In B Flat, Op.83 - 3

Martha Argerich :

Early Recordings

Deutsche Grammophon Releases Early Radio Recordings of Martha Argerich
Released for the first time, these recordings include works featured nowhere else in the pianist's discography

In 1960 Martha Argerich was not yet a household name. Her début album was not to be released by Deutsche Grammophon until the following year, and the popularity that she was to achieve on winning the 1965 Warsaw Chopin Competition was not yet hers for the taking. And yet she was not completely unknown. She was born in Buenos Aires in 1941 and had already attracted attention as a child prodigy. Among her teachers were such famous pianists as Friedrich Gulda, Madeleine Lipatti and Nikita Magaloff. And soon after winning the 1957 Busoni and Geneva international competitions at the age of only sixteen, she had already made a number of important concert débuts. It is no wonder, then, that her name had come to the attention of various broadcasters. Only now has she sanctioned the release of some of the recordings that she made for North German and West German Radio in 1960 and 1967. They round off and complement our picture of Martha Argerich's pianism.

These releases include works that Martha Argerich recorded on other occasions and that are already numbered among the highlights of her discography, notably Prokofiev's Toccata op. 11 and Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit and Sonatine, but they also feature works that seem far from typical of her repertory but which demonstrate yet again that her concert repertory was far more extensive than her official gramophone recordings would indicate. Mozart's D major Sonata K576 and Beethoven's Piano Sonata op. 10 no. 3, also in D major, are both works that have previously not been a part of Martha Argerich's official discography.

Martha Argerich has recorded a handful of Mozart's keyboard concertos and, more especially, a number of his works for piano four hands, but most people were not aware of any existing recording of a Mozart piano sonata. Set down in the studios of West German Radio on January 23, 1960, her performance of the D major Sonata, particularly its outer movements, is inspirational. Its opening Allegro is noticeably brisk but is so filled with natural life that it is entirely convincing. Even more compelling is the Allegretto final movement, to which she brings great eloquence and imagination.

While studying with Friedrich Gulda in Vienna in 1955, Martha Argerich had worked on a number of Mozart sonatas as well as Beethoven's op. 10 no. 2 and Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit. As far as the Beethoven sonatas are concerned, we may assume that she picked up a number of ideas from an acknowledged Beethovenian like Gulda, even though Gulda himself claimed that he did not know what he could teach her "since the girl could really do everything".

Argerich's 1961 recording of Prokofiev's Toccata op. 11, which featured in her début recital for Deutsche Grammophon, has always been a classic and now enjoys legendary status, hailed by audiences and critics alike for its "transcendent virtuosity". She had already recorded the same work for North German Radio four months earlier, on March 16, 1960. A comparison between the two suggests that the DG release is rather more controlled than the earlier radio recording, but the unrestrained drive and ebullient virtuosity can also be found in the earlier recording.

Prokofiev is a composer whom Argerich loves, and her recordings of his concertos are all benchmark interpretations. Her performances of the sonatas included in the present release are also important additions to her discography. Her reading of the Seventh Sonata is familiar from other live recordings, but her recording of the Third appears to be completely new.

Argerich's West German Radio version of Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit dates from 1960 and once again is noticeably quicker than her gramophone recording of 1974. It also finds the pianist at the very peak of her abilities. The earlier recording sounds more impetuous, the second more mature. A witticism on the part of Nikita Magaloff may serve as an apt description of Martha Argerich's early recordings: "You can't expect a racehorse to maintain a steady trot."