Martha Argerich
Chopin: The Legendary 1965 Recording

Warner Classical / Parlophone Records

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A TAV Essential Listening Album.

Martha Argerich has been described as “unquestionably one of the greatest pianists of all time”. She recorded a Chopin recital for EMI (now Warner Classics) in 1965, shortly after her victory in the prestigious Chopin Competition, but it only became available in 1999, when it appeared on CD. For Argerich's 75th birthday on 5 June, it finally sees its first release on LP, the format originally intended.

“Argerich was quite the most formidable player we had ever come across,” writes the album’s producer, Suvi Raj Grubb, “Nothing would have been beyond this woman.” All this adds up to a recording that is indeed legendary. – Warner Classics

“Suvi Raj Grubb, producer gives us the fly-on-the-wall details of one of the most remarkable recording sessions for piano ever:

“When I started to get interested in music it took some time for me to come to terms with the piano. But by the time I joined EMI (now Warner Classics) I loved piano music and was very knowledgeable about it, so whenever a new pianist appeared I was first choice as producer.

By 1966 I had made a clutch of piano records, one of the best of which never saw the light of day. 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 Polonaise Op.53. I sat up in my chair with a long drawn out ‘Jee-sus’ – the balance engineer said ‘Wow!’

If this was a sample of her playing, Argerich was quite the most formidable player we had ever come across. The big chords sounded huge, the runs between them clean; in the trio, a great showpiece, the difficult left-hand octave runs were even and the crescendo controlled. I peeped into the studio to make sure that this wash of sound was really originating from the slip of a girl seated at the piano. It was quite unbelievable.

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.

She came into the control room, looked at me and beamed, for she knew she had had a shattering impact on me. Over the next few days, fortified by gallons of strong, black coffee, she finished a Chopin recital which included the third Sonata, the third Scherzo and, fashioned like miniature jewels, a group of Mazurkas and Nocturnes. The last movement of the Sonata is in one flawless take. She said she had enjoyed the sessions; she liked the sound of the piano on the record, and looked forward to working with me again.

To my bitter disappointment, we learnt a few weeks later that her commitment to another company would not permit us to publish the record, and, not for the first time nor the last, I wished that there were no such things as exclusivity clauses. In due course a record with the same repertoire was released by our rivals – when I heard it I knew that our Argerich was the better of the two.” – Warner Classics

Item description:        


Martha Argerich / Chopin


The Legendary 1965 Recording


Warner Classical / Parlophone


Vinyl, LP, Reissue, Remastered, Gatefold



Release Date:





Romantic, Piano

Catalog No: