Martha Argerich & Claudio Abbado Complete Concerto Recordings [6 LPs]

This is becoming one of my favourite new releases. Who knew way back in the 70s that new DG vinyl releases would receive such quality pressings? At the time, most DG LPs were best of the rest, far behind Bluebacks and RCAs. 

Also cause for happiness, these magnificent early releases of two of DGs greatest roster members. I remember Abaddo's beginnings with the BSO and the LSO and these early recordings. What a musician. And Argerich was a star from the beginning, signed to DG even before the big Chopin Competition win. A pair from musical heaven. And now the subject of these re releasees and their early (and later) gems. 

DG's product description. 

With this special LP edition Deutsche Grammophon pays tribute to an extraordinary musical partnership. The 6LP set collects all the concerto recordings made by pianist Martha Argerich with conductor Claudio Abbado over more than 45 years.

Lift-off lid LP box with ribbon, with a beautiful and nostalgic image of the two artists at the Prokofiev/Ravel recording session in June 1967

Sleeves featuring the original covers

180g heavyweight vinyl pressings from Record Industries

Programs

LP 1
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 | RAVEL Piano Concerto in G
Berliner Philharmoniker

LP 2
CHOPIN | LISZT Piano Concertos No. 1
London Symphony Orchestra

LP 3
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1
Berliner Philharmoniker

LP 4
BEETHOVEN Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3
Mahler Chamber Orchestra

LP 5
MOZART Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 25
Orchestra Mozart

LP 6
RAVEL Piano Concerto in G | Bonus: RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit
London Symphony Orchestra

Review

The primary recordings of interest here are the early Prokofiev, Chopin and Tchaikovsky LPs. They are justly famous. The newer recordings with Mahler and Mozart Orchestras are still very interesting and sound wonderful on vinyl, but the original, seminal recordings score fantastic musical marks.  

The pressings are exemplary. Silent and silky. The Prokofiev/Ravel recording is a marvel. Argerich's technique is flawless. Her filigree work in both Prokofiev and Ravel is full of clarity and weight. The energy she brings is echoed in the brave accompaniment by the Berlin Philharmonic. The sound? You'll never hear woodwind playing of such control and refinement in the Ravel G Major slow movement. Tactile, beautiful, superb. I've not heard the CD box of these recordings nor do I care too, but the LP sound on my Rega 10 turntable has a sheen that is impossible to replicate on CD. and the peroration of the Prokofiev 3 is a famous musical bustup. God, it's fun. 

The same style with Tchaikovsky. Gorgeous orchestral tone from the members of the Berlin Philharmonic. The famous musical cues all sound brilliant -- opening horns, pizzicato, massive octaves on the piano, solo flute in slow movement, and more. Argerich powers through the outer movements with apparant ease. The piano tone never gets vague; it's always focused, much like Argerich. Her performance radiates confidence and stunning musicianship. 

Chopin never had so good. And the Concerto receives an exquisite performance. Here, the LSO get to be mother. They match all others for sensitivity. Strings sound beautiful and woodwind are centered and fullsome.  

Of course, you're paying a premium for vinyl, but love of sound and pride of ownership, this fabulous release is a no brainer. This set cost USD$109.00. 

The Mozart and Beethoven recordings are from a much later time. The pair had been a musical team for many years. Of course there's magic, but the early recordings really weave a spell. I'd have purchased just for those three pressings. 

This is a magical release. Someone at DG and Record Industries earned their pay. Whatever your reasoning for purchase, nostalgia, vinyl, the music or performances, you won't purchase a better set of LPs this year. Very highly recommended.