- Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), ballet in 2 parts for piano, 4 hands
Recorded live on April 19, 2014, in the Berlin Philharmonie, this recital by Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim was a reunion of two extraordinary musicians whose friendship began in 1949 in Buenos Aires, when they were children. Both Argerich and Barenboim were wunderkinder who amazed each other with their virtuosic playing, yet they didn't recall ever playing the piano together. This program of piano duos gave them the opportunity to redress that omission, and to bring their skills and temperaments to three works, the "Sonata for two pianos in D major" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the "Variations on an Original Theme in A flat major" by Franz Schubert, and the four-hand arrangement of "Le Sacre du printemps" by Igor Stravinsky. A clear effort was made to bring their performance styles in line. Barenboim, ever cool and laconic, had to ramp up his energy to match Argerich's more volatile and flamboyant delivery, but the adjusting really went in both directions. In the Mozart, Argerich and Barenboim seem almost self-conscious about the expression and pacing, and Argerich obviously pulled back to match Barenboim's tempo. There was more give and take in the Schubert, which offered both players freedom to play off each other, and they found a good balance at this point. While they made a valiant effort in "Le Sacre," the performance is ragged; it needed much more practice and polish, and even though they must have enjoyed taking on the challenge side by side, it probably felt quite crowded over that keyboard. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is clear and fairly focused for a concert recording, and background noises were kept to a minimum.