Classical Album of the Week

Classical Album of the Week

Conductor Claudio Abbado and pianist Martha Argerich got to know each other through composer-pianist Friedrich Gulda, with whom they both studied with in the late-1950s.

Their close and long-standing cooperation in the studio began in 1967 with Argerich’s brilliant debut recording of Prokofiev’s 3rd and Ravel’s G major Piano Concertos.

Over the following decades, Abbado and Argerich’s brilliant chemistry yielded defining performances of the piano concerts by Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. Each of their subsequent collaborations was a resounding successes with both critics and audiences alike.

Born in Buenos Aires, Martha Argerich began taking piano lessons at age five with renowned Italian-Argentine pianist Vincenzo Scaramuzza.

In 1955 she went to Europe with her family, and there, as mentioned, she refined her mastery of the keys under the guidance of Friedrich Gulda.

She appeared in various piano-competitions and also won several of these, but her victory in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1965 was the decisive step on the path to worldwide recognition. Since then she has been placed among the world’s best pianists, and remains so today.

Abbado was born into a musical and artistic family in Milan in 1933.

He studied piano, composition and conducting at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in his hometown, later traveling to Vienna in the mid-’50s to attend courses in conducting under Hans Swarowsky.

Abbado’s merits were unique, as were his contributions to the international music scene. For many years he was the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonics and the London Symphony Orchestra. He was a founding member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, an orchestra of some of the most talented young students, handpicked from the conservatories.

Sadly, at the age of 80, Abbado passed away last year after a long illness, bring a proud career to an end. He is already deeply missed.

Enjoy this complete collection of recordings from an unforgettable musical pairing.

And remember that if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at

(Photo: © Ilse Buhs /DGG)

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