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J.S. Bach: Toccata; Partita; English Suite No. 2 Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, June 13, 2000
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Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires. From the age of five, she took piano lessons with Vicenzo Scaramuzza. In 1955 she went to Europe with her family, and received tuition from Friedrich Gulda in Vienna; her teachers also included Nikita Magaloff and Stefan Askenase. Following her first prizes in the piano competitions in Bolzano and Geneva in 1957, she embarked on an intensive programme ... Read more in Amazon's Martha Argerich Store

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Frequently Bought Together

J.S. Bach: Toccata; Partita; English Suite No. 2 + Martha Argerich: The Legendary 1965 Recording + Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 / Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23
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Product Details

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (June 13, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00004R7X0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,967 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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A lot of pianophiles have been waiting for the reissue of this 1980 LP, Argerich's only Bach recording. She played the same Partita at her Carnegie Hall recital in the Spring of 2000, suggesting that she just doesn't play much Bach. These performances have the pianist's typical intensity of approach. Her fingers do the talking, with some dazzling clear articulation reminiscent of Glenn Gould on a good day, and she seldom blurs any of the textures. She also has a very good feeling for Bach's dance rhythms; the closing Gigue of the Partita makes you want to jump up and put on your dancing shoes. Argerich uses an unusually wide dynamic range for Bach, and some of the dreamy slow movements won't be to the taste of all listeners. Nobody, though, will be able to ignore these performances; while they are playing, they seem like the only way to do it. The 1980 sound is still fine, and although the disc is LP length (50 minutes), the price is right. --Leslie Gerber

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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If you like Bach, you will probably love this recording.
Sonia Rothschild
Argerich's approach to Bach becomes evident early: her playing is very spontaneous and rhythmically alive; it sings; she makes fine use of dynamic contrast.
M. Levitt - classical music buff
Martha Argerich is the best pianist I ever heard... This Bach's works are excellent..
Guillermo C. Alzueta

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Niya on June 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
In some ways, it might be more difficult to play Bach on the piano than on the harpsichord. One doesn't always find pianists giving convincing interpretations of Bach that seem to stand the test of time. They need to good fingers, great intellect, an intuitive sense of rhythm, clear and clean sound production, a style suited to the music of Bach, and an awareness of the grand musical structure in his music. They also need the greatest sensitivity for harmonies and colors. Martha Argerich has many of these qualities. In her Bach, there is a unique intensity and drama. She creates powerful and vivid characterization and impressions with great economy. Ineffable and dramatic moments seem sometimes produced by no more than the slightest shading or the subtlest rubato. The secret may lie in the concentration. This is music making that has the potential to challenge one's mind. It might give an impression that Argerich had a fastidious and serious attitude when playing Bach, but her playing at the same time has a feeling of effortlessness and naturalness also - I found. It was my impression that her performance of Bach here achieved a relatively degree of simplicity. If I remember correctly, Chopin might have said that simplicity is the "final seal of art(s)"?

The length of this recording is not the longest (50'16)- one of the shorter ones in DG's "The Originals" legendary recordings series. However, Argerich also recorded the Bach Cello Sonatas with Mischa Maisky (also by DG). Years ago, I found myself listening to these two CD's quite often. They could be stimulating when I listened to them intently, but they proved to be a soothing companion for my book reading at times.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl P Sucher on November 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I first heard this recording over twenty years ago in a small, dusty apartment in Tel Aviv. As a serious piano student, I was accomplished in playing Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. In fact, Glenn Gould's piano rendition of Book One was the first album I ever purchased. I was familiar with Gould's Bach interpretation, and when my Israeli friend heard my praise, he went to his cupboard and produced this recording. "You've never heard Bach played like this," he said, smiling wistfully. He played the LP and the room was suddenly alive with the internal joy and rhythmic nuance that only the best Bach performers can capture. Over the years, I have returned to this recording for creative inspiration as it sounds as fresh and vital on the thousandth hearing as the first. There is intelligence, wonder and extraordinary musicality in Argerich's technique inspired by the composer's crafty genius. She is a wonder.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Eytan Ýpeker on June 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Martha Argerich is an absolute winner in Bach. Surpsingly so in some ways but not totally so: The maximum fingercontrol/clarity/artýculaion makes a Bach recording that one can easly call DEFINITIVE, a term that nobody dared to use for Argerich before. Not even the most 'purist' listener will be able to say "This is not Bach,it's Argerich"(BTW,listen to her new EMI concert recordings of the same tracks and you will be amazed to see the difference between the wilder/ truly 'Argerich' concert approach and this calmer and more Bach-like studio approach: She is simply someone else in the studio!..) Yet,in this studio recording righly reissued in the Deutsche Gramaphone's LEGENDARY RECORDÝNGS series,one can also guess that such a natural sounding poetry, such a 'color-range',such an elegence and beauty cannot be anyone but Martha Argerich. This is how the purist approach Bach should be ideally. Having listened to Richter's(Well-tempered), Gould's(well-tempered)and a few others' Bach, Argerich's recording reminds me of Plato's cave parable.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
For someone who does so well with Romantic piano works, it is astounding how well Argerich handles Bach in this recording. With such popular Bach pieces, any performer would face established Bach keyboardists who have nearly defined these works--the famous trio of Gould, Landowska, and Tureck always come up. But Argerich is radiant in her orchestra-like handling of the works. The Toccata in C minor awakens with a mordent, like a clarion call. She takes us through it with a breathless, moving slow section. The fugue is handled in a dance-like fashion, passing through the impetuous lines of triplets, and the double-fugue that follows is rich in tone color. Her dynamic sensitivity offers an extra device for tension when sequencing and modulating. The second Partita and second English Suite, likewise, are both clear in texture, phrasing, and articulation--from the introspective Sinfonia of the partita to the frenzy Bouree of the English suite, and ending in the stately gigue. This recording is full of life wealth for the ears.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bunyard on October 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When Martha Argerich recorded this music in 1980 it must have been the Age of Aquarius. What a beautiful recording. Her rendition of Bach's Toccata BWV 911 surpasses any of Bach's keyboard music I've heard. Dubravka Tomsic's Toccata BWV 912 is also great, but Argerich's 911 is greater. Glenn Gould would have to come in third with these pieces.

Why is Argerich the best? Because she has heart. She plays with love of Bach and love of humanity. (This may be redundant.) Tomsic's precision is not without feeling, but Gould is not humane. He was a genius, of course, and he could make your mind dance. But Glenn Gould could not enter your heart nor the heart of Bach.

About four minutes into the Toccata Argerich plays the first of Bach's counterpoint passages on this disc and enters the realm of mystic crystal revelation. The space-time continuum is transcended. As time stands still Argerich and Bach create perfect forms of sound - nothing like the world mess and ourselves in it. Such transcendences occur frequently throughout this recording.

Martha Argerich was born in 1941 in Argentina . She was a child prodigy, playing the piano at age three and giving her debut concert at age eight. In 1965 she made her first recordings, including works by Chopin, Brahms, Ravel, Prokofiev and Liszt. Her technique has been described as "formidable" and has been compared to that of Vladimir Horowitz.

She has had a life-long aversion to the press and to publicity. As a result, she has remained relatively unknown to the general public. But to lovers of classical piano she is widely recognized as one of the great piano virtuosos of our time.
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