CHOPIN: Piano Sonata No. 3; Mazurka Nos. 36, 37 & 38; Nocturne No. 4; Scherzo No. 3; Polonaise No. 6 “Heroic” – Martha Argerich, p. – Parlophone/ Warner Classics

A magnificent format for an amazing piano performer.

CHOPIN: Piano Sonata No. 3; Mazurka Nos. 36, 37 & 38; Nocturne No. 4; Scherzo No. 3; Polonaise No. 6 “Heroic” – Martha Argerich, piano – Parlophone/ Warner Classics 0825646372867 stereo vinyl (6/3/16) *****:

This is the first release on LP, the format for which the recording session was originally aimed. It became available on CD in 1999, but this legendary 1965 recording for first time makes it possible to enjoy a more natural piano sound, and none of the usual technical difficulties of pressing vinyl albums seem to affect this one. There is not a single instance of pops or ticks (and I was listening on Grado headphones), not is there any noticeable diminution of the high end as the grooves approach the center label on each side. And no rumble whatsoever.

The liner notes concerning how taken aback producer Suvi Raj Grubb was the first time he heard Argerich are fascinating. He felt she “was quite the most formidable player we had ever come across.” This is a performance of the Chopin Piano Sonata that leaves even Horowitz in the lurch. The technical level of the whole thing, and especially the fourth and final movement, is enthralling. The three Mazurkas are taken at a danceable rate, without any slips. And these are probably first takes too. You will probably never want to hear any other pianist do the Heroic Polonaise of Chopin after you hear the final track on the second side of this vinyl. Absolutely amazing!

Is it worth the $25 Warner is asking? If you have a decent turntable and analog setup, of course!

—John Sunier

on this article to AUDIOPHILE AUDITION!

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