“When Martha Argerich walked into the studio it was her dark, smouldering looks which first struck me. As soon as she arrived she asked for coffee; when I offered her a cup she gulped it down in one go and asked for more. I sat her in the studio with a large pot of coffee and went into the control room. At first, her hands moved casually over the keyboard as she tested the piano. Then she launched into Chopin's PolonaiseOp. 53. I sat up in my chair with a long drawn out “Jee-sus” - the balance engineer said 'Wow'! ” (producer Suvi Raj Grubb)
Martha Argerich has been described as “unquestionably one of the greatest pianists of all time”. She recorded this recital in 1965, shortly after her victory in the prestigious Chopin Competition, but it only became available in 1999. “Argerich was quite the most formidable player we had ever come across,” said Grubb, “I smiled as I recollected Clara Schumann's remark to Brahms about the Paganini Variations, regretting that it was beyond a woman pianist's capability. Nothing would have been beyond this woman. "
All this adds up to a recording that is indeed legendary.
Recorded at the Abbey Roads Studios, London in 1965,
Producer Suvi Raj Grubb