Happy birthday to a recreative genius!
You hear it right away, in the recordings of Chopin she made at the age of seventeen. There's the tone, rich and colorful, but never heavy, like a full-bodied wine that bears its 15+% alcohol with the grace of a ballerina. There's the attack, firm but never strident, capable of seemingly infinate shades and nuances. And there's the elusive, indefinable quality of interpretation, where the music seems molten under her fingers, ready to be caressed into life as if for the first time. You still hear these qualities over a half-century later, now almost exclusively in the company of other musicians, including other pianists (she hates to play alone), and usually in recordings made at the festival that carries her name. Former Boston Globe critic Richard Dyer aptly described her as "the Garbo of pianists" (referring both to her artistry and her temperament), and wrote that following the death of the great Sviatoslav Richter, she was the "only remaining pianist with mystique." And Tuesday on WFCR, we'll feature three performances by the one, the only Martha Argerich. Tune in!