Beethoven: Piano Concertos No. 2 & 3

Martha Argerich / Claudio Abbado

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Beethoven: Piano Concertos No. 2 & 3 Review

by James Leonard

Listen to this disc. It is the reason recordings exist. First: the repertoire -- Beethoven's C minor and B flat major piano concertos -- is among the greatest ever composed. Second: the pianist -- Martha Argerich -- is among the greatest living pianists. Third: the conductor -- Claudio Abbado -- is among, no, simply is the greatest living conductor. Fourth: Argerich and Abbado have known each other almost 40 years and the affectionate and sympathetic performances on this disc are a testimony to the strength of their musical relationship. Fifth: while Argerich's previous recording of Beethoven's B flat concerto with Sinopoli was light and lively, this one with Abbado is lovely and delightful. Sixth: while she has recorded Beethoven's B flat major concerto before, Argerich has never recorded Beethoven's C minor concerto before. Seventh: this is one of the deepest, most dramatic, most virtuosic, and most passionate performances of the C minor concerto ever recorded. Eighth: the Mahler Chamber Orchestra -- no longer the newest European chamber orchestra -- has grown into a brilliant and cohesive ensemble, an ensemble that follows Argerich and Abbado with precision and panache. Ninth: Deutsche Grammophon's live sound is absolutely immediate and unbelievably vivid. Tenth: this disc is surely one of the great classical recordings released in 2004.

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