This grande dame of the piano world, possessed of an extraordinarily modest, charming personality – focused on the music, devoted to deeply understanding it – has performed three times during the Chopin and His Europe Festival at the invitation of The Fryderyk Chopin Institute. The recordings on this album come from her concerts in 2010 (when she performed the Piano Concerto in F minor op. 21 with the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra under the baton of Christopher Warren-Green) and 2014 (when she performed a recital including, among other items, the Nocturnes presented here). A presentation of – by nature – completely different interpretations, which nonetheless form an extraordinarily coherent artistic whole. Superb creations displaying the most beautiful side of pianistic art.
In the third of three new landmark albums on the Decca label, Nelson Freire marks his 70th birthday year with a stunning recording of Chopin’s lyrical and brilliant Piano Concerto No. 2. The recording was made in Cologne with the Gurzenich-Orchester Koln and Lionel Bringuier, one of the most talked-about of the younger generation of conductors. The release also features some favorite Chopin solo works including a Ballade, Berceuse, Polonaise and three Mazurkas.
Gold medalist at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Nobuyuki Tsujii is heard here in an all-Chopin program taken from his competition performances. Blind since birth, Tsujii has become a worldwide sensation. His official Van Cliburn disc (HMU 907505) has sold well over 100,000 copies, and Tsujii s fans in his home country are both legion and passionate to the extreme. Discover the magic!
David Hurwitz on Symphony No. 3 & Symphonic Dances
One of the great Rachmaninov recordings ever made, these accounts of the Third Symphony and Symphonic Dances by Mariss Jansons and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic recall the heady days of Mravinsky and the (then-named) Leningraders at their finest–only in top-quality sound. The whiplash strings in the second movement of the Symphonic Dances, hair-trigger discipline in the same work's outer movements, and the razor-sharp modernity that Jansons brings to the Third Symphony all combine to make this reissue irresistible. There are too many memorable moments to list here, but the central section of the Third Symphony's slow movement, full of mordant wit, and the rhythmically thrilling ending of the Symphonic Dances come immediately to mind. If you missed this issue the first time, don't let it pass by again. It belongs in every serious record collection. [5/7/2004]
Chopin's two piano concertos have long been admired more as pianistic vehicles than as integrated works for piano and orchestra. But in his revelatory new recording, Krystian Zimerman suggests otherwise: The opening orchestral tuttis have so much more light, shade, orchestral color, and detail, you wonder if they've been rewritten. Every gesture, every instrumental solo is so specifically characterized that by the time the piano makes a dramatic entrance, the pieces have become operas without words.
It was an eminently sensible decision to couple Zimerman's previously separate Chopin concertos on a single CD. The Ax/Ormandy/RCA disc is the only rival as a coupling, so let me say at once that in different moods I would be equally happy with either. The main difference, I think, is the actual sound. From DG we get a closer, riper sonority, with Zimerman's piano much more forwardly placed. Both orchestra and piano are more distanced on the RCA recording, especially Ax's piano. This, together with Ax's lighter, more translucent semiquaver figuration (and sometimes his greater willingness to stand back and merely accompany—as in certain episodes in the F minor Concerto's finale) often conjures up visions of Chopin himself at the keyboard, and we know he was often criticized for insufficiently strong projection.