Sugar and spice and metronome-breaking tempi. Happy birthday, Martha!
“Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brainteasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it.”
– Alex Ross, “Madame X: Martha Argerich,” The New Yorker (Nov. 2001)
The video that made me realize how incredible this lady is.
The hair. The humor. The no-nonsense attitude. Above all, the unflinching artistry. Happy birthday, Martha!
“I think interpretation is trying to liberate what one is unconscious about. When one can let go some things one doesn’t know are there – the unexpected things and the surprises in the performance – that’s when its worthwhile. This is also what I appreciate in other performers. When they are masters of their means of expression, this does not exactly interest me. That interests me in a teacher, but in a performer I am interested in what happens behind or in spite of the things the performer consciously wants to do. Maybe I am a little bit of a voyeur, you know, that way. But this is what I love.”
– Martha Argerich, in a 1979 interview