Claire Huangci: my great female pianists top five
In an exclusive IDAGIO playlist, pianist Claire Huangci selects her favourite recordings by the great female pianists past and present that have inspired her.Read more…
- Prokofiev • Toccata for Piano in D minor op. 11 (1912) • Allegro marcatoToccata for Piano in D minor op. 11 (1912)
Allegro marcatoMartha Argerich (Piano)1961, Hannover, Beethoven-Saal
- Prokofiev • Romeo and Juliet op. 64 (1938) (Excerpts) (Arr. for 2 Pianos) • 35. Romeo reshaet mstit' za smert' Merkutsio (Romeo Decides to Avenge Mercutio's Death) (Act II) 'Death of Tybalt'Romeo and Juliet op. 64 (1938) (Excerpts) (Arr. for 2 Pianos)
35. Romeo reshaet mstit' za smert' Merkutsio (Romeo Decides to Avenge Mercutio's Death) (Act II) 'Death of Tybalt'Martha Argerich (Piano), Sergei Babayan (Piano)℗ 2018
- Bach • Partita for Harpsichord No. 6 in E minor BWV 830 • I. ToccataPartita for Harpsichord No. 6 in E minor BWV 830
I. ToccataMaria Tipo (Piano)℗ 1992
- Chopin • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in F minor op. 21 B. 43 • I. MaestosoConcerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in F minor op. 21 B. 43
I. MaestosoGuiomar Novaes (Piano), Otto Klemperer
Wiener SymphonikerJune 1951
- Chopin • Nocturnes op. 62 B. 161 • 1. Nocturne in B major. AndanteNocturnes op. 62 B. 161
1. Nocturne in B major. AndanteGuiomar Novaes (Piano)℗ 1993
- Chopin • Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in G minor op. 65 B. 160 • III. LargoSonata for Violoncello and Piano in G minor op. 65 B. 160
III. LargoMaria João Pires (Piano), Pavel Gomziakov (Violoncello)℗ 2008
- Chopin • Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in G minor op. 65 B. 160 • IV. Finale. AllegroSonata for Violoncello and Piano in G minor op. 65 B. 160
IV. Finale. AllegroMaria João Pires (Piano), Pavel Gomziakov (Violoncello)℗ 2008
- Mozart • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 20 in D minor KV 466 • I. AllegroConcerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 20 in D minor KV 466
I. AllegroClara Haskil (Piano), Herbert von Karajan
Philharmonia Orchestra1956, Salzburg, Mozartwoche, Großer Saal des Mozarteums Salzburg
Martha Argerich: Prokofiev Toccatain D minor op. 11; "Death of Tybalt" from 'Romeo and Juliet' (arr. Babayan)
Martha Argerich is one of my earliest influences. She has an infectious stimulating energy and grabs you from the first note, and I always said to myself that that's how I wanted to be able to capture an audience. When I started playing the piano aged seven, my parents gave me her debut recording as a present. I listened to it as if it was on a loop, and we'd play the CD whenever I was in the car. I would hear it in my head, especially the motoric drive of the Prokofiev Toccata. Some kids want to learn Rachmaninoff Three, others Prokofiev One. I wanted to learn his Toccata!
As a child I also knew Prokofiev's 'Romeo and Juliet' in its orchestral version very well, but when I was recording my first album – of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev ballet transcriptions – I was very sad that Prokofiev hadn't transcribed this movement, my favourite moment of the whole thing! And then I heard this album where Argerich and Sergei Babayan realise it (in Babayan's own transcription). It's riveting – kind of everything I'd like to be able to do on the piano alone!
Maria Tipo – Bach: Partita No. 6 in E minor BWV 830; Scarlatti: Sonata in A major K 39
Maria Tipo's a pianist I'd known by name for many years, but I only got to know her better when I recorded my own Scarlatti album. I don't think she played such a wide range of repertoire; she stayed largely within the Baroque and early Classical literature. I was struck in particular by her touch in Baroque music. What she's able to achieve on the modern-day piano is a real harpsichord-like purity of sound, but at the same time a sound with a multitude of nuances, with a sense of phrasing and timing that allows her to interpret Scarlatti and Bach in a very modern way. Her Scarlatti, in particular, is exemplary.
Guiomar Novaes – Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2; Nocturne Op. 62 No. 1
I heard Noavaes's recording of Chopin's Second Concerto many years ago in the car and was struck by the energy of the playing: the fire, the drive, and the impetuous energy. It's different to what you get from Martha Argerich, but you could say both are equally intense. Noavaes's playing has such power and presence, and she really pulls the orchestra along with her. It was different from other Chopin interpretations I knew and is maybe today still my favourite. Nowadays modern pianists have so many different things to think about, and I think some even think too much, but she just lets the music take her and is so sure of herself – you hear that conviction in the playing. And then in the Nocturne she is able to show that she still has that character even when things are very tender.
Maria João Pires – Chopin: Cello Sonata; Schubert: Impromptu in F minor
From Maria João Pires I selected the Chopin Cello Sonata, in part just because I love the sound of the cello so much – this deep yearning sound that is almost impossible to create on the piano. This is one of the pieces I enjoy working on most with cellists, and Pires and her partner here achieve such a beautiful symbiosis in the third and fourth movements. It's like a perfect definition of chamber music: two strong personalities meshing to create a memorable interpretation. Then there's a very different character in the Schubert impromptu, specifically this recording from the album 'Le Voyage magnifique', where I hear Pires's spirit as well as the power of music to make us better.
Clara Haskil – Mozart Piano Concerto KV 466; Schubert Piano Sonata in B flat D960
I like Clara Haskil first of all because we have similar names! But she's undoubtedly one of the great pianists, a grande dame from a golden age when there weren't many well-known female pianists at all. She always has these perfectly intellectual interpretations of the classical repertoire. But, for the first recording, I selected this Mozart concerto with Karajan. It's a live recording, so it's maybe not all perfect, but you just hear the authenticity and quality. My last choice is fitting: the first movement of Schubert's final sonata. She plays this with such a kind of peacefulness, with what feels like a straightforward way of looking at what's coming imminently. She’d gone through so much in her life at this stage – it's quite a late recording – and you hear this whole experience amassed, even just in the way she plays those opening chords.