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.
When Nobuyuki Tsujii rose from the piano, having completed his performance at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, audience members leapt to their feet and jurors were moved to tears by his passionate interpretation of Chopin s Piano Concerto No.1. Already known in his home country for his refined and effortless playing, his spell-binding performances brought Mr. Tsujii to the attention of hundreds of thousands of new fans throughout the world, while raising his status in Japan to superstar. Gold medalist , Nobu is heard here in a captivating all-Chopin programme of his competition performances.
Almost four hours of music constitutes exceptional value especially when, tucked away among a selection of Mazurkas, is Chopin's early "Variations on a German National Air". Vásáry charms you into wondering why it is so rarely heard.
This set offers Chopin's most famous and best loved piano expertly played by Tamas Vasary.
Tamás Vásáry (born August 11, 1933, Debrecen, Hungary) is a Hungarian pianist. Vásáry gave his first public performances at the age of 8. He studied with Ernő Dohnányi and Józef Gát at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, and was later assistant there to Zoltán Kodály, who made him a gift of a Steinway piano.
Uzbek-born pianist Anna Malikova is best known for her interpretations of music by Chopin. She has performed and recorded both concertos, the complete etudes, preludes, and impromptus, and numerous individual solo works. But Malikova is hardly a specialist: she plays a wide range of compositions, taking in large segments of the outputs of J.S. Bach, Soler, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. She has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America, and has performed with many of the world's leading ensembles, including the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the major orchestras of Warsaw, Moscow, Sydney, Oslo, Tashkent, and others.
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.