Peral Music Releases Piano Duos Album, Featuring Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich

Peral Music, Daniel Barenboim’s digital record label, releases an extraordinary new album of piano duos with Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich. A live recording of the concert that the two musicians gave at the Berlin Philharmonie in April 2014, the new release sees Barenboim and Argerich performing Mozart’s Piano Sonata in D Major, Schubert’s Variations on an Original Theme in A-flat, and Stravinsky’s “Le sacre du printemps.” The album is offered in superior digital sound quality as “Mastered for iTunes.”

Order the album now exclusively from iTunes.

The new release is the culmination of a friendship extending back to the musical soirées of 1949 Buenos Aires. “We sight-read and played with whomever was in town,” Daniel Barenboim remembers. “We were the two little wunderkinder,” recalls Martha Argerich. “We played children’s games under the table,” says Barenboim. “I used to hide, but he would find me,” Argerich laughs. Astonishingly, in view of what these two child talents were later to become in the keyboard world, the two great Buenos Aires-born pianists do not seem to have ever played at the piano together at those now distant Rosenthal chamber music evenings. Even so, more than 60 years later, Daniel Barenboim remembers listening to his eight-year-old friend playing Chopin’s C sharp minor Étude from op. 10 “with exactly the same fire and brilliance that she plays it with today”. Martha Argerich just remembers that “Daniel played everything. His enormous repertoire was already amazing. My mother used to say, ‘Oh, why can’t you be like Daniel?’ ”

The program was the result of friendly negotiations between the two pianists. “We always speak in Spanish – well, Argentinian!” says Barenboim. Mozart was an obvious choice. “I am completely crazy about Daniel’s Mozart playing,” says Argerich. “He is like a singer in every phrase, but for me Mozart is difficult and I was nervous about it.” Argerich had played the D major Sonata for Two Pianos before, but when Barenboim suggested that the sonata should be played with a very controlled dynamic, it suddenly sounded right. The two pianists played the Mozart side by side, Barenboim’s piano closer to the front of the platform and Argerich’s at the back. Schubert’s Variations on an Original Theme in A flat major had been part of the Barenboim–Argerich program all those years before in Paris. Now, with one piano wheeled temporarily to the wings, the two sat side by side at the one instrument. Argerich chose to play the bottom part. “She is a wonderful accompanist,” says Barenboim, “and I think she also wanted to control the pedals and the balance.”

But it was the second part of the program that clinched the deal for the Barenboim and Argerich reunion and that most of the audience had probably come to hear. Prior to the premiere of Le Sacre du Printemps, Stravinsky had himself prepared a four-hand piano arrangement of the orchestral score – and even gave an early private performance of it with his friend Claude Debussy – but Argerich had never played it before. She learnt the score specially for the Berlin recital. “I didn’t feel inhibited by the difficulties, though it certainly is difficult, rhythmically in particular,” she says. “But I think it worked. We were very happy with it.”