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If there is one disc any pianophile should not miss, it is this one – a recording of a concert given in the Philharmonie in Berlin in April 2014. The long-awaited coming together of two of our finest pianists, the Israeli-Argentinian Barenboim and the Argentinian Argerich, who have worked together on and off since 1949, delivers everything it promises and more.

The Mozart (Barenboim primo) is a masterpiece in chamber music. Energy abounds in the outer movements in different ways: serious, celebratory and full of pomp in the first, scampering in the Finale, unspeakably tender in the Andante. If there is a weakness, it is that the Schubert takes a little while to warm up. When it does, though, it is pure deliciousness. It sits alongside, if not toppling, the famous Decca Britten/Richter account.

Finally, though, comes the work everyone has been waiting for: The Rite of Spring in a performance that exudes energy and gets straight to the heart of Stravinsky’s score. Listen carefully and you can hear the care of rehearsal; but the pianists transcend this, taking the gestural landscape by the scruff of the neck. Tellingly, even the quieter moments possess great power. The slow and desolate sections of the second part are mesmeric, leading to a Sacrifical Dance that, in sheer unstoppable verve, rivals any orchestral version. This is in a different world from the Ott/Tristano version (see p85).

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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