This concert, by Martha Argerich, is the 1976 performance of the Schumann Piano Concerto, Liszt's Funerailles and Ravel's Jeux d'eau.
There is not much video documentation of the great pianist Martha Argerich in her prime, so it is fortunate that this program, taped for Canadian television in 1977, gives a three-dimensional view of her various strengths. Ravel's Jeux d'Eau
, which translates a fountain's flow and glitter into piano music, exemplifies the quality that most people notice first in her playing: dexterity and precision at breathtaking speeds. But there is also a fine awareness of the music's descriptive power. Liszt's moody Les Funerailles
, in contrast, requires the ability to hold the music together as a coherent structure at very slow speeds, evoking a carefully defined atmosphere. This, too, she does splendidly.
But the heart of the program is Schumann's Concerto in A Minor, one of the 19th century's greatest works in that form, rich in virtuoso display and heart-on-sleeve emotion and requiring fine rapport between soloist and orchestra. This disc fulfills all the music's potentials. --Joe McLellan