Martha Argerich's concerts are always planned, but they are never guaranteed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Argerich à la japonaise

Many classical music connoisseurs know that Japan is a treasure-trove for extremely-hard-to-find recordings of great artists. With Argerich it is no exception, as the Japanese simply adore her, and can't get enough of her. Her recordings from her main labels (DG, Philips and EMI) are often remastered, repackaged and released in various formats.

In 2011, there have been a few interesting new releases from Japan from smaller labels that are worth mentioning here. First up are two CDs from Argerich's Japanese management company, Kajimoto Music. The first release features Schumann and Chopin (No. 1) piano concerti with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra under Christian Arming, recorded in December 2010. The second release is the now-famous Tokyo recital from 2000, with works by J.S.Bach, Chopin, Scarlatti, Prokofiev and Ravel. Proceeds from the two limited-edition CDs go to charity.
The Japanese broadcasting corporation NHK have dug out material from their archives and have coupled two concerti by Tchaikovsky (No. 1) and Bartok (No. 3) into one DVD, recorded at Argerich's Beppu festival in 2001 and 2007. In the Tchaikovsky, Antonio Pappano leads a very fiery performance while Yuri Bashmet is at the helm of the Bartok concerto. It is also available on Blu-ray.

And the last release in this post is a 2-CD set from the 2011 edition of Argerich's festival in Beppu. Entitled 'Musicians' Chain Of Hope', this recording features an eclectic mixture of tangos and classical works. On the first CD Argerich and her friends perform tangos by Hubert, Piazzolla, Padula, Marconi and Bacalov. The second CD includes the Schumann piano quintet alongside Chopin's piano concerto No. 1, in an arrangement for string orchestra. And like the Kajimoto releases, proceeds from the Beppu recording will go to charity, to help the reconstruction of areas damaged by the recent natural disasters in Northeastern Japan. All the recordings mentioned above are available on (or simply click on the highlighted text above to be automatically redirected to the HMV page of the recording/s)

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