About us / Contact

The Classical Music Network


Europe : Paris, Londn, Zurich, Geneva, Strasbourg, Bruxelles, Gent
America : New York, San Francisco, Montreal                       WORLD

Your email :



“The Complete Chopin – Deluxe Edition”
Frédéric Chopin: CD 1: Piano Concertos nº 1 in E minor, opus 11, and nº 2 in F minor, opus 21 [1, 2]; CD 2: Variations on “Là ci darem la mano”, opus 2 – Fantasy on Polish Airs in A major, opus 13 – Rondo à la krakowiak in F major, opus 14 – Andante spianato in G major and Grande polonaise brillante in E-Flat major, opus 22 [3, 4, 5]; CD 3: 4 Ballades, opuses 23, 38, 47 & 52 – Fantaisie in F minor, opus 49 [1] – 3 Nouvelles Etudes, KK IIb/3, B.130 – Marche funèbre in C minor, opus posth. 72 nº 2, B.20 – 3 Ecossaises, opus posth. 72 nº 3, B.12 [6]; CD 4: 12 Etudes, opus 10 – 12 Etudes, opus 25 – Barcarolle in F-Sharp major, opus 60 – Berceuse in D-Flat major, opus 57 [7]; CD 5: Mazurkas opuses 6, 7, 17, 24, 30, 33 & 41 [8]; CD 6: Mazurkas opuses 50, 56, 59, 63, posth. 67 & 68 – Mazurkas in A Minor (à Emile Gaillard), B. 140, & in A minor, B. 134 "Notre Temps" – Mazurkas in B-flat major & G major, B. 26 – Mazurkas in A-flat major, B. 85, in C major, B. 82, in B-flat major, B. 73, in D major, B. 71, & in D major, B. 4 – Mazurkas in F minor, opus 68 No. 4 (revised version) [8]; CD 7: Nocturnes opuses 9, 15, 27 & 32 [9]; CD 8: Nocturnes opuses 37, 48, 55, 62 & posth. 72 N° 1 – Nocturnes in C-Sharp minor, B. 49, & in C minor, B. 108 [9]; CD 9: Polonaises opuses 26, 40, 44 & 53 "Heroic" – Polonaise-Fantaisie in A-Flat major, opus 61 [7]; CD 10: Andante spianato in G major and Grande polonaise brillante in E-Flat major, opus 22 [10] – Polonaises, opus posth. 71 – Polonaises in B-Flat minor, G-Flat major, G minor, B-Flat major, A-Flat major & G-Sharp minor – 2 Bourrées, B. 160b – Galop Marquis, KK. IVc/13 – Feuille d’album in E major, B. 151 – Cantabile in B-Flat major, B. 84 – Fugue in A minor, B. 144 – Largo in E-Flat major, B. 109 [6]; CD 11: 24 Préludes, opus 28 – Preludes in A-Flat major, B. 86, & in C-Sharp minor, opus 45 [11] – 4 Impromptus, opuses 29, 36, 51 & 66 "Fantaisie-Impromptu" [12]; CD 12: 4 Scherzos, opuses 20, 31, 39 & 54 [7] – Rondos opuses 1, 5 [13] & 16 [14] – Rondo for two pianos opus posth. 73 [15, 16]; CD 13: Piano Sonatas nº 1 in C minor, opus 4 [13], nº 2 in B-Flat minor, opus 35, & nº 3 in B minor, opus 58 [7]; CD 14: Variations sur un air national allemand, B. 14 – Souvenir de Paganini, B. 37 – Variations brillantes sur "Je vends des scapulaires", opus 12 – Introduction, Thème et Variations sur un air vénitien, B. 12a – Variation No. 6 in E from "Hexameron", B. 113 – Allegro de concert in A major, opus 46 – Boléro in A minor, opus 19 – Tarantelle in A-Flat major, opus 43 [8, 17]; CD 15: Waltzes, opuses 18, 34, 42, 64, posth. 69 & 70 – Waltzes in A-flat major, B. 21, in E-flat major, B. 133, in E-flat major, B. 46, in E major, B. 44, in E minor, B. 56, & in A minor, B. 150 [18]; CD 16: Piano Trio in G minor, opus 8, CT. 206 [19] – Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C major, opus 3 [10, 20] – Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, opus 65 [10, 20] – Grand duo concertant for cello and piano in E major, opus posth. B.70, KK IIb, nº 1 [21, 22]; CD 17: Songs, opus posth. 74 [23, 24]; CD 18: BONUS: A Chopin recital by the winner of the XVII International Chopin Piano Competition (2015): 24 Préludes, opus 28 – Nocturne in C Minor, opus 48 No. 1 – Piano Sonata nº 2 in B-Flat minor, opus 35 – Polonaise in A-flat major, opus 53 "Heroic" [25]; CD 19: 20 Legendary Chopin pianists [26]; CD 20: The Younger Generation [27]; DVD: Rubinstein plays Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, opus 21 – Scherzo No. 2 in B-Flat minor, opus 31 [28, 29, 30]

Krystian Zimerman [1] (Piano), Polish Festival Orchestra [2], Jan Lisiecki [3] (Piano), NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester [4], Krzysztof Urbanski [5] (Conductor), Anatol Ugorski [6] (Piano), Maurizio Pollini [7] (Piano), Vladimir Ashkenazy [8] (Piano), Maria João Pires [9] (Piano), Martha Argerich [10] (Piano), Rafal Blechacz [11] (Piano), Yundi [12] (Piano), Lilya Zilberstein [13] (Piano), Mikhail Pletnev [14] (Piano), Daniil Trifonov [15] (Piano), Sergei Babayan [16] (Piano), Vovka Ashkenazy [17] (Piano), Alice Sara Ott [18] (Piano), Beaux Arts Trio: Menahem Pressler (Piano), Isidore Cohen (Violin), Bernard Greenhouse (Cello) [19], Mstislav Rostropovich [20] (Cello), Gabriel Schwabe [21] (Cello), José Gallardo [22] (Piano), Elzbieta Szmytka [23] (Soprano), Malcolm Martineau [24] (Piano), Seong-Jin Cho [25] (Piano), Halina Czerny-Stefanska [26] (Piano), Adam Harasiewicz [26] (Piano), Monique Haas [26] (Piano), Geza Anda [26] (Piano), Sviatoslav Richter [26] (Piano), Stephan Askenase [26] (Piano), Julian von Károlyi [26] (Piano), Tamás Vásáry [26] (Piano), Shura Cherkassky [26] (Piano), Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli [26] (Piano), Christoph Eschenbach [26] (Piano), Emil Gilels [26] (Piano), Lazar Berman [26] (Piano), Ivo Pogorelich [26] (Piano), Daniel Barenboim [26] (Piano), Vladimir Horowitz [26] (Piano), Stanislav Bunin [26] (Piano), Benjamin Grosvenor [27] (Piano), Hélène Grimaud [27] (Piano), Yuja Wang [27] (Piano), Ingolf Wunder [27], Lang Lang [27], Arthur Rubinstein [28], André Previn [29], London Symphony Orchestra [30]
Auditorium Giovanni Agnelli, Torino (08/99); Rolf-Liebermann Studio, Hamburg (06/16); Rudolf-Oetker Halle, Bielefeld (07/87 and 03/99), Herkulessaal, Munich (1972, 01/74, 07/74, 02/79, 03/80, 02/81, 09/84, 09/90, 03/99), St. George the Martyr, Holborn, London (06/79, 09/79, 04/81), Kingsway Hall, London (04/76, 03/79, 04/82, 06/82, 01/83 and 05/83, 06/83, 10/83), All Saints’ Church, Petersham, London (09/76, 10/76, 10/78, 09/98), St. Barnabas Church, Woodside Park, London (05/84, 02/85), Rosslyn Hill Chapel, London (11/81), Musikhochschule, Munich (01/95, 01/96, 04/96), Henry Wood Hall, London (01/99, 06/96), Musikverein, Vienna (11/75, 06/08), Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Ludwigshafen (12/87, 11/96, 03/99, 07/07), Siemens-Villa, Berlin (06/04, 12/04, 05/15), Teldex Studio, Berlin (09/01, 08/09, 12/11), Regentenbau, Bad Kissingen (07/16), Théâtre populaire romand, La Chaux-de-Fonds (08/70), Emil Berliner Studios, Berlin (04/16), Philharmonic Concert Hall, Warsaw (10/15), Jesus-Christus-Kirche (10/56), 07/59, 09/78), Beethoven-Saal, Hannover (07/59, 07/60, 12/63, 07/64, 06/65, 10/68), Italy (11/62), Carnegie Hall, New York (2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013 2015), Plenarsaal Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich (10/71), UFA Tonstudio, Berlin (10/71), Studio Lankwitz, Berlin (05/81), The Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto (01/13), Lyndhurst Hall, London (04/11), Nikodemuskirche, Berlin (12/15), Rundfunk-Zentrum, Berlin (02/11), Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin (2011, 2015, 2016) – CDs: 1,345’; DVD: 43’35
20 CD set and 1 DVD Deutsche Grammophon # 0289 479 6555 8 (Distributed by Universal Music Classics/Verve Record Label) – Book in German, French and English

This Deutsche Grammophon (DG) “Deluxe” compilation of works by Chopin is a 20-CD expanded edition of a previously released box set of live and studio recordings containing a dazzling line up of pianists. Because it is DG, stellar engineering is a given. But this collection is curated with such care in assembled performances by pianists, past and present, that it impresses with more than just technical artistry, and it is able to tap into that “X-factor” of Chopin’s music. Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov sums it up in his liner note observation that performing the music indeed “...leads us deeper into Chopin’s inner world…His music is sensed as being born in the moment with utmost sincerity, as if transcending all barriers between poetic expression and musical form. It speaks to us as something intimate and personal without constraint.”

Frédéric Chopin was born in Warsaw in 1810, but he was only able to remain in Poland for half his life. He was on his first European tour when the Russians invaded Poland, and though he wanted to return to fight, his increasingly fragile health forced him to remain out of the country. In Paris, meanwhile, his career as a composer and pianist thrived. In her introduction in the album’s companion book, music scholar Jessica Duchen cites Chopin as being Poland’s “first great musical nationalist...a bridge from the sound world of Mozart to the High Romantics.”

Taking in this anthology in its entirety is an altogether immersive study of the full impact of Chopin’s genius. Fittingly, Deutsche Grammophon leads off with a 1999 performance by The Polish Festival Orchestra, Krystian Zimerman, soloist and conductor in a performance of Chopin’s Piano Concertos n° 1 and n° 2. The concertos have been criticized for their staid orchestral structure, but that is a forgotten footnote in the glow of these performances. Zimerman also performs the Ballades, the second containing a lullaby passage so intimate that it’s like being in a room removed from a nursery, only to be suddenly offset by a torrent of pianistic fury, then back again. Equally compelling is the heavily romantic drapery of Ballade n° 4, but in Zimerman’s hands it’s more angular and intriguingly neo-romantic.

Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki follows with a disc of works for piano and orchestra. Lisiecki, who is known for his mature technique, is present with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Krzysztof Urbanski’s conducting of the jaunty Variations from Don Giovanni and the Fantasy on Polish Airs. Within Rondo à la krakowiak we hear shadowy tempos and sharp orchestral interlocks driven by Lisiecki’s sterling technical artistry.

The 24 Préludes contain some of Chopin’s most famous pieces. Rafal Blechacz plays them with such a wide range of musical introspection, ranging from the radiant quietness of Prélude n° 4 to the driving piano rhythms of Prélude n° 12. Lesser known, but no less lustrous are Chopin’s shorter pieces: scherzos, impromptus, rondos, waltzes, barcarolles, all which are performed with distinction by soloists Maurizio Pollini, Lilya Zilberstein, Mikhail Pletnev, Sergei Babayan, Yundi, Daniil Trifonov and Alice Sara Ott.

Chopin’s folkloric sensibility also gushes forth in the Grande polonaise brillante, performed with such intimacy by Brazilian virtuoso Martha Argerich that it makes one feel one is in the studio with her. Russian master Anatol Ugorski also weighs in with a wide-ranging selection of dance pieces. Vladimir Ashkenazy and his son Vovka display their fiery technique inside the Variations with pieces of Chopin studies, including the Boléro and the Tarantelle.

Soprano Elzbieta Szmytka and pianist Malcolm Martineau simply entrance inside the 19 Chopin songs. Stefan Witwicki and others have contributed lyrics to such selections as Zyczenie (The Wish), Wiasna (Spring), Wojak (The Warrior), Plosnka lifewska (Lithuanian Song), a few examples of folkloric lineage and musical classicism in this catalogue.

The Beaux Arts Trio takes on the chamber works in a scintillating 1980 session including Menahem Pressler (piano), Isidore Cohen (violin) and Bernard Greenhouse (cello.) This presents a most vivid example of the composer’s eloquent multi-instrument evolution in comparison to his concertos. On the same disc cellist Gabriel Schwabe and pianist José Gallardo equally captivate, but it is the sonata form inside the Sonata for Cello and Piano which so inspires the spellbinding performance of virtuosos Mstislav Rostropovich and Martha Argerich. Maria João Pires performs all of the nocturnes on two successive discs, and it is an opportunity to not only admire her vivid dynamics, but to also marvel at Chopin’s pianistic inventions in an intimate musical form.

On the bonus disc, “A Chopin Recital”, Seong-Jin Cho performs the 24 Préludes and other pieces in his live performance at the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall. Cho garnered the 2015 International Chopin Competition. His Chopin mystique is particularly riveting, showing his mastery of range from the chromatic densities of Prélude n° 8 to the sentimental warmth expressed inside the Polonaise in A-Flat major.

Even compositions repeated by different pianists don’t seem to be overdone. On “Legendary Chopin Pianists” it’s anything but redundant to hear performances by Vladimir Horowitz and star conductors-pianists such as Christoph Eschenbach (Prélude in D-Flat major, opus 28, n° 15 “Raindrop”) and Daniel Barenboim (Nocturne in E-Flat major, opus 9, n° 2) along with concert masters Halina Czerny-Stefanska, Adam Haraslewicz, Monique Haas, Sviatoslav Richter, Ivo Pogorelich, to name a few.

The “Legends” recording is the perfect comparative compilation to the finale bonus disc, “The Younger Generation” showcasing millennial pianists. Among the many outstanding tracks, some of the definitive performances include Russian pianist Daniil Trifinov and the Sonata n° 3, French pianist Hélène Grimaud’s barcarolles and Chinese superstar Lang Lang in the particularly commanding Etude n° 3 in E major, opus 10 “Tristesse”. Lang Lang has been toning down his flashy stage presence in concert halls, and here the obvious focus is on his artistry. Yuja Wang’s interpretation of the Waltz in C-Sharp minor, opus 64, n° 2 with fluctuating tempi is not only a revelation, it transports us across the ballroom floor.

So many of these pianists are able to authoritatively tap into the interpretive aspects of Chopin’s solo piano works. Music writer Jessica Duchen recounts an incident at one of Chopin’s informal salons he gave for colleagues when he suddenly stops playing and a friend says, “Come on, it’s not finished”, and Chopin quips, “It’s not begun.”

This is a relatively modestly-priced compendium, and even though the bonus DVD of Arthur Rubinstein seems like filler from an overstock pile, Rubinstein’s performances still fascinate. The companion book entitled, Frédéric Chopin - A Life in Pictures, Drawings and Documents by Ernst Burger is a tabletop musical scrapbook with essays by Chopin experts Jessica Duchen (English), Wolfgang Stähr (German) and Claire Delamarche (French.)

Lewis J. Whittington




Copyright ©ConcertoNet.com