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

Martha Argerich , Johann Sebastian Bach Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Rachmaninov's Complete Works


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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J.S. Bach: Toccata; Partita; English Suite No. 2 + Bach: Sonatas for Cello & Piano
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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: #74,454 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars reputable interpretation of Bach on the piano June 16, 2000
By Niya
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
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most extraordinary classical recordings ever 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
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable little recording March 25, 2001
By A Customer
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
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Martha makes me smile. :)
I am always impressed with Martha's bright interpretations, often played at a fast tempo and with a reserved matter-of-fact enthusiasm, but never lacking in precision. Read more
Published 3 months ago by classical music lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Never gets tiring. Clean, clear, and very enjoyable piano works by a...
This recording is on my desert island list of classical piano works. I have never been disappointed by a performance or recording from Martha Agerich. Read more
Published 15 months ago by JL
5.0 out of 5 stars Electric
Upon completing listening to this disc, one can only wish Argerich had more Bach in her repertoire. Comparing these recordings to the pedestrian current "standard" equivalents... Read more
Published on January 29, 2012 by Amazon SF
5.0 out of 5 stars a pianist's pianist
Marta Argerich is simply an outstanding pianist, in my opinion. I have most of her recordings. Whether she is playing solo music, as she is here, or sonatas with other musicians... Read more
Published on November 19, 2011 by Sonia Rothschild
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh yes, she CAN play Bach!
This is quite simply one of the most outstanding Bach recordings I have ever heard. Ms Argerich's virtuosity was no surprise to me, I have long admired her romantic work, as... Read more
Published on January 1, 2011 by struts
5.0 out of 5 stars Martha Argerich channels Bach - Essential
This is quite simply as great a recording of Bach (performed on a piano) as one can get. Mrs. Argerich is at least as good as Gould (some might say far better than Gould) or any... Read more
Published on November 26, 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly executed Bach in her own inimical style
Martha Argerich plays an absolutely sublime Bach, very faithful to the Baroque music tradition (hardly any sostenuto pedal, moderate dynamics) with absolute clarity and control,... Read more
Published on November 5, 2010 by Ronald van Vollenhoven
5.0 out of 5 stars Martha Argerich plays Bach
This is a superb recording and performance of Bach's piano music. If you love Bach you will love this exquisite CD. Argerich plays with amazing clarity and musicianship.
Published on August 30, 2010 by M. Harwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach With Clarity
Argerich's outstanding technique and control enables her to sculpt Bach's music in a way that makes for sharp, Mozart like clarity. Read more
Published on June 24, 2010 by Joseph R. Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars Read this before you buy!!
Buy MARTHA ARGERICH THE COLLECTION 1 for $21 or so. It includes this masterpiece interpretation of Bach and some of her finest Chopin and Ravel interpretations (a total of 8 cds!)
Published on June 11, 2010 by Ebonga Tembe
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