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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 and Nutcracker Suite (for Two Pianos) - Martha Argerich, Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 and Nutcracker Suite (for Two Pianos) - Martha Argerich, Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic

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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a (Arr. Nicolas Economou for 2 pianos) Nicolas Economou (piano)

“Tchaikovsky's First Concerto has already appeared twice on disc from Martha Argerich in complementary performances: live and helterskelter on Philips with Kondrashin (reviewed under Rachmaninov), studio and magisterial with Dutoit on DG. Now, finely recorded, here's a third, live recording with the BPO and Claudio Abbado surpassing even those earlier and legendary performances. Argerich has never sounded on better terms with the piano, more virtuoso yet engagingly human. Lyrical and insinuating, to a degree her performance seems to be made of the tumultuous elements themselves, of fire and ice, rain and sunshine. The Russians may claim this concerto for themselves, but even they will surely listen in disbelief, awed and – dare one say it – a trifle piqued. Listen to Argerich's Allegro con spirito, as the concerto gets under way, where her darting crescendos and diminuendos make the triplet rhythm speak with the rarest vitality and caprice. Her nervous reaching out towards further pianistic frays in the heart-easing second subject is pure Argerich and so are the octave storms in both the first and third movements that will have everyone, particularly her partners, tightening their seat belts. The cadenza is spun off with a hypnotic brilliance, the central Prestissimo from the Andantino becomes a true 'scherzo of fireflies', and the finale seems to dance off the page; a far cry from more emphatic Ukranian point-making and brutality. For encores DG has reissued Argerich's 1983 performance of The Nutcracker where she's partnered by Nicolas Economou in his own arrangement, a marvel of scintillating pianistic prowess, imagination and finesse.”