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alt-listening for the 4th - Young Martha Argerich /

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Martha, our dear. Record labels are constantly mining the vaults, and with various degrees of reward, but Martha Argerich fans will be thrilled to greet at least a few of the works in Early Recordings, a new Deutsche Grammophon release of recordings from the very beginning of the pianist's career. Argerich is captured in early views of Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit and the Sonatine, as well as in Prokofiev's Toccata and Third and Seventh sonatas, and she is more than fine, if not unusually revelatory, in this repertoire.

But it is two works of Beethoven and Mozart that make this two-CD set worth hearing, especially since they have not been, until now, part of the authorized Argerich catalogue. Made in 1960 for West German Radio when Argerich was 18, these takes of Mozart's Sonata No. 18 in D Major, K. 576 and Beethoven's Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Opus 10, No. 3, are rendered in both an edgy intensity and a golden, rounded tone. The Beethoven is especially electric - the pacing of that excruciatingly tragic climax in the second movement, and the force with which she makes those unexpectedly placed rhythmic jabs in the first. She hears things in these works no one else does, which is the Argerich (now 75) we have come to love. - Peter Dobrin