Prokofiev’s great Third Piano Concerto has been Martha Argerich’s signature piece since she won competitions with it at the age of 16 in 1957. If you’re used to Bryon Janis’ reading on Mercury or have never heard Argerich play Prokofiev, you’re in for a shock. The only other artist I can think of who played the Third with this kind of energy at this breakneck tempo was Prokofiev himself, and Prokofiev’s performance is all speed and slop. Despite its power and pace, Argerich’s is far more agile, deeply thought out, and various— built upon the precise articulation of rhythmic and dynamic contrasts. Be they fortissississimo or pianissississimo, presto or adagio, every note, every chord, every bravura run and leaping flourish is sounded with passion and precision. It’s as if Argerich is uttering one long, complex, fully articulate sentence in one long thrilling breath. Abbado and the Berlin Phil keep up with her, though it often seems (as it often does with distinctive pianists in distinctive performances) as if Argerich is conducting as well as soloing. Full credit goes to DG’s engineers, whose close miking of the piano perfectly serves the clarity of line and muscular poetry of Argerich’s sensational reading. A must- own disc.