Les "Préludes" demeurent sans doute l'oeuvre la plus fascinante de Chopin, un véritable concentré de son génie musical, qui, par là, atteint l'universel et l'intemporel. Ces pièces courtes, voire très brèves (parfois moins d'une minute), vous plongent dans un univers aux multiples dimensions sonores et émotionnelles, par un minimalisme formel d'une densité expressive impressionnante. Que ce soient ces bourrasques apocalyptiques qui emportent tout sur leur passage, ou ces moments de paix inespérés, comme une mer immobile et lumineuse sous un ciel de plomb, il est impossible de rester de marbre à l'écoute de cette musique qui vous emporte au-delà de toute banale réalité. Ces "Préludes" paradoxaux, se suffisant à eux-mêmes, n'introduisent à rien d'autre qu'à l'infini de leurs vertiges, sur l'invisible corde raide du piano...
Martha Argerich explore comme personne tous ces mondes depuis leurs moindres recoins jusqu'à leurs horizons les plus abyssaux. La pianiste évite tout pathos en allant droit au coeur de la substance musicale, qu'elle sculpte avec une force incisive et incendiaire. Par sa virtuosité échevelée qui n'a d'égale que la délicatesse de son toucher et sa poésie sonore, elle sait réfréner sa fougue juste au bon moment, toujours sur le fil du rasoir, en une tension jamais relâchée, jusqu'aux derniers accords du 24ème prélude, qui font s'ouvrir le sol sous vos pieds...
Plus qu'un disque, une porte ouverte que l'on ne veut plus refermer...
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Flawed, but Unequally Exciting9 octobre 2008
C. Pontus T.
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Do you like your Chopin Preludes exciting and sizzling? Then, have no doubt who is your woman; Argerich's Preludes belong to her most impetuous and lively studio performances. You might wonder where she finds all the energy--and the answer is, at least in most instances, in Chopin's uniquely original and inspirational score. Having said that, there are indeed instances where her edge-of-the-seat energy gets the best of her, pushing aside such other central features as poetry, tonal beauty, articulation and relaxed calm.
The level of excitement Argerich's conjures up in the F-sharp minor, B-flat minor, F minor, E-flat major, G minor and D minor Preludes is peerless. The above-described downsides chiefly reveal themselves in the G major through blurry articulation (partly patched up by overpedaling), in the F-sharp major through relentless unwillingness to allow the gorgeous sonorities to resonate, in the D-flat major through rushing the raindrops into near-flooding proportions (again using excess pedaling), in the B-flat minor through almost pushing it over the edge, in the E-flat major through losing the poetic pliability, and in the B-flat major Prelude through creating unsolicited aggressiveness.
Despite the flaws, I certainly wouldn't want to be without Argerich's blistering Chopin Preludes. Coupled with her unusually swinging Barcarolle, her breakneck Second Scherzo, and her turbo-dancing Op 53 Polonaise makes this a very desirable disc--even if the reference Second Sonata coupling is even more attractive (Chopin: Préludes; Piano Sonata No. 2 [Argentina]). Nonetheless, to get the complete range of Chopin's Preludes, free up shelf space for Ohlsson (Garrick Ohlsson: The Complete Chopin Piano Works Vol. 2 - Preludes) and Pogorelich (Chopin: Préludes, Op.28).
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Always inspirational, emotionally driven and not for the faint hearted3 mars 2013
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This disc contains performances from Argerich at her most volatile and inspirational. The Preludes and the Scherzo dates from the 1970s and the remainder of the disc date from the 1960s. The whole program has been remastered and the sound thus achieved is no cause for concern. The performances themselves are from a time when Argerich was still in her youth and they give no quarter in terms of being emotionally super-charged. In the hands of lesser pianists some may describe these types of interpretations as impetuous but that suggests a lack of previous thought. In this case these performances, which are certainly emotionally driven and at white heat, betray no such casualness. Instead the impression gained is that of intense emotionalism intensely controlled.
The Preludes are delivered as if one sustained piece with very little pause between one and the next. Chopin wrote them all as a complete unit which was unusual for him. Most of his collected works as bought today (sets of Scherzi, Nocturnes, Impromptus, Mazurkas etc.) were written individually throughout his life and were never intended to be played as complete sets. The Preludes were different though and that is very much how Argerich plays them - as a stream of continuous inspiration.
In general terms there is an emphasis on forwardly moving tempi, some considerably faster than normal. This is most true when a faster piece follows on without any pause from the previous piece so that they become emotionally joined. This seems perfectly acceptable when so many of these preludes are so fragmentary and benefit by being so joined.
The Scherzo also receives a blistering performance and the Polonaise is played with equal drive but with the repetitive middle section still tightly controlled rhythmically so that there is no sense of destructive 'gabble.' These are fine performances. So too is the flowing performance of the Barcarolle, once more an individually refreshing concept.
This is a thrilling disc with a strong sense of improvisatory drive and displaying highly charged emotional responses. There are equally valid ways of playing this repertoire but none more convincing than this in its own way. Definitely not Chopin playing for the faint hearted!
I would suggest that this disc should be seriously considered as a 'must buy' for all collectors interested in alternative interpretations. Purchasers interested in an 'only' buy may wish to tread more carefully if they are after a representative disc of the Preludes. This one may make all the others seem unjustifiably dull!
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Martha Argerich plays Chopin26 mars 2013
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Martha Argerich is superb !! Recorded in 1961, 1967, 1975 and 1977, this CD includes 24 Preludes from Op. 28. Excellent recording !