Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Frederic Chopin, Eliahu Inbal, London Philharmonic Orchestra|
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
Listen to Samples
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Essential Chopin at a Price for Everyone
Christopher Smith | Atlanta, Georgia | 07/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always been an admirer of Claudio Arrau and his extraordinary pianism. His were the first Beethoven sonatas I ever bought, and the quality and quantity of his overall repertoire is mind-boggling. However, his Chopin has always stood out for me, and I have long treasured his Philips recordings of the Preludes, the Ballades, and the Nocturnes. While I have my fair share of Pollini, Rubinstein, Zimerman, and Ashkenazy, Arrau to me brings an extra dimension of meditative, searching spirituality to Chopin that is utterly unique and unforgettable. To me every Chopin piece tells a story or sketches within the space of a couple of minutes a strikingly vivid image in my mind, and Arrau is so in tune with the emotional tenor of every piece he plays. And of course his technique is such that he handles all the major hurdles that pieces such as the Ballades throw in the way of pianists. While the Nocturnes, the Impromptus, and the Piano Concerti have been available on CD for a long time, the others here (the Waltzes, Scherzi, and most importantly the Ballades and Preludes)have not. I have been eagerly awaiting a release such as this, since my tapes of the Ballades and Preludes are in appalling condition, and this price just can't be beaten. Everything here was recorded in the '70s, when Arrau was still at his best, and Philips always does a superb job of remastering, so one need not worry about the sound quality. Don't forget too that there is also an early EMI recording of Arrau taking on the Etudes, which he didn't record for Philips and is worth having, although I don't think Arrau beats out Pollini's '70s DG interpretation in this department (I do however think that Arrau's Preludes and Ballades are second to none). I also have to say that I prefer Zimerman's early concerti with Giulini and the LA Philarmonic to the concerti here. Overall though, Arrau's achievement with Chopin as exhibited here is remarkable in every department, and whether you're new to Chopin or casting around for another interpretation of pieces you already know, Arrau will win you over. This release is a true bargain too. Thanks Philips!"
Johannes Climacus | 06/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has to count as the definitive recording of these works. Arrau captures both the outer gentility and the inner power of Chopin's work, and always strikes the perfect balance between the two. These recordings are phenomenal--worth the investment twenty times over."
Johannes Climacus | Beverly, Massachusetts | 04/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This box, featuring the consummate artistry of Claudio Arrau in Chopin, is an extraordinary bargain. Though it is missing too many essential Chopin works to stand as a "basic library edition"--there are no Mazurkas, no Polonaises (except for the op. 61 Fantaisie) and no Sonatas, for instance--this collection is mandatory listening for admirers of the pianist and would make an excellent introduction to the composer for any aspiring pianist. For Arrau was indeed a master of his craft. His exquisite control of tone and timbre, his sense of dramatic timing, his effortless fluency, his dedicated and intelligent musicianship, all conspire to make one fall in love anew with this thrice-familiar music.
The Scherzi, Impromptus and Ballades have rearely sounded less effortful and more alluring. Arrau conveys the heroic and sometimes harrowing narrative structures of these pieces better than Horowitz, Richter, Michelangeli and a host of other prominent pianists.
Arrrau's Preludes, Waltzes and Nocturnes may be more controversial. As many critics have opined, this pianist's rubato as well as his agogic stresses and hesitations can sound either revelatory or arbitrary depending on one's tastes and mood. For me, Arrau conveys the pathos of the music so splendidly that I am willing to forgive the touch of heaviness (or heaviness of touch) in some Waltzes and Preludes, as well as a tendency to linger overmuch in some Nocturnes.
The two Concertos are probably the least satisfying performances in the collection. Arrau seems too cautious in these youthful works; one wants more sparkle, more abandon. And Inbal's dogged and didactic accompaniments won't convince you that Chopin was a budding symphonic composer *malgré lui*. On the other hand the "Polonaise-Fantaisie" opus 61 receives one of the greatest performances of the work ever recorded. The same can be said for the stunning account of the Fantasia op. 49, which conveys a uniquely compelling sense of narrative. These are the selections I would play for anyone who entertains doubts about Arrau's credentials as a Chopin interpreter. Arrau penetrates more deeply beyond the surface beauties of these works than most rivals, including Rubinstein.
In the end, then, one shouldn't make too much of Arrau's idosyncrasies. Every pianophile should hear these performances, which convey such effortless virtuosity and such authentic involvment with the music that Arrau's distinctive interpretive gestures scarcely obrtude, and one can even forgive Inbal for making the long ritornelli in the two concertos seem interminable. Not only is the price right, but the remastering is splendid, correcting some of the tubbiness that afflicted the original LPs (and earlier CD incarnations) and bringing this great artist right into one's listening space.
Don't miss this opportunity to renew your acquaintence with, or get to know for the first time, one of the musical giants of the previous century."