Discussion:
Chopin PCs. Yundi or Grosvenor?
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M&S Frost
2021-01-05 21:17:18 UTC
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Anyone have a strong preference? Are they on par with Zimerman or Argerich?

MIFrost
dk
2021-01-05 23:09:08 UTC
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Post by M&S Frost
Anyone have a strong preference? Are they on par with Zimerman or Argerich?
I have just completed my New Year's Chopin PC traversal,
listening to more than 60 versions of each concerto, and
including all the well known suspects.

To my ears the finest 1st concerto is by Polina Leschenko:


and the finest 2nd concerto is by Konrad Skolarski:


Maurizio Pollini's 1960s recordings won honorable
honors in the "classical LTMSFI" style. I did not like
Argerich, Zimerman or Yundi.

dk
M&S Frost
2021-01-05 23:37:12 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by M&S Frost
Anyone have a strong preference? Are they on par with Zimerman or Argerich?
I have just completed my New Year's Chopin PC traversal,
listening to more than 60 versions of each concerto, and
including all the well known suspects.
http://youtu.be/M4yc_bFLrgc
http://youtu.be/UpXd11YFFrQ
Maurizio Pollini's 1960s recordings won honorable
honors in the "classical LTMSFI" style. I did not like
Argerich, Zimerman or Yundi.
dk
Are these performances available on CD?

MIFrost
dk
2021-01-05 23:59:19 UTC
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Post by M&S Frost
Post by dk
Post by M&S Frost
Anyone have a strong preference? Are they on par with Zimerman or Argerich?
I have just completed my New Year's Chopin PC traversal,
listening to more than 60 versions of each concerto, and
including all the well known suspects.
http://youtu.be/M4yc_bFLrgc
http://youtu.be/UpXd11YFFrQ
Maurizio Pollini's 1960s recordings won honorable
honors in the "classical LTMSFI" style. I did not like
Argerich, Zimerman or Yundi.
Are these performances available on CD?
Don't think so. They can however be downloaded from YT.

dk
M&S Frost
2021-01-06 00:01:28 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by M&S Frost
Post by dk
Post by M&S Frost
Anyone have a strong preference? Are they on par with Zimerman or Argerich?
I have just completed my New Year's Chopin PC traversal,
listening to more than 60 versions of each concerto, and
including all the well known suspects.
http://youtu.be/M4yc_bFLrgc
http://youtu.be/UpXd11YFFrQ
Maurizio Pollini's 1960s recordings won honorable
honors in the "classical LTMSFI" style. I did not like
Argerich, Zimerman or Yundi.
Are these performances available on CD?
Don't think so. They can however be downloaded from YT.
dk
Thanks for the quick reply. I'll give them a listen.

MIFrost
M&S Frost
2021-01-06 01:46:45 UTC
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Permalink
Post by M&S Frost
Post by dk
Post by M&S Frost
Post by dk
Post by M&S Frost
Anyone have a strong preference? Are they on par with Zimerman or Argerich?
I have just completed my New Year's Chopin PC traversal,
listening to more than 60 versions of each concerto, and
including all the well known suspects.
http://youtu.be/M4yc_bFLrgc
http://youtu.be/UpXd11YFFrQ
Maurizio Pollini's 1960s recordings won honorable
honors in the "classical LTMSFI" style. I did not like
Argerich, Zimerman or Yundi.
Are these performances available on CD?
Don't think so. They can however be downloaded from YT.
dk
Thanks for the quick reply. I'll give them a listen.
MIFrost
My local library has a recording by Blechacz which I'll take out and listen to. And I just got a recording by Primakov on Apple that I downloaded to iTunes which I'll also listen to later. Both were recommended by American Record Guide. So I have a lot to listen to. DK, did you really listen to 60 versions of each concerto? All the way through?

MIFrost
dk
2021-01-06 06:50:37 UTC
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Post by M&S Frost
My local library has a recording by Blechacz which I'll take out and listen to.
And I just got a recording by Primakov on Apple that I downloaded to iTunes
which I'll also listen to later. Both were recommended by American Record
Guide.
I didn't like either Blechacz or Primakov. Both sound heavy handed, driven,
predictable and blandissimo.

dk
dk
2021-01-06 07:16:18 UTC
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Post by M&S Frost
DK, did you really listen to 60 versions of each concerto? All the way
through?
I actually listened to more than 60. Listening for comparative analysis is
however a very different process than listening for pleasure. It would not
make sense to listen straight through every performance, and it would be
rather inefficient and unproductive.

I follow a protocol not unlike competitions, applied to just a single work. I
start with a marked score in which I highlight all the "interesting" sections.
In general I use a "clean urtext". I wasn't able to find one however of Chopin's
piano concerti, so I used the Polish National Edition (sometimes referred to
as the Turczinski Edition).

"Interesting sections" are relatively short snippets which reveal a pianist's
phrasing, articulation and tone production -- e.g. the main themes of each
movement, cadenzas, certain passages, and so on.

I use an audio editor to extract these sections and save them in files with
random names and from which all mp3 metadata has been removed, which
I let then sit on my computer for a couple of weeks so I lose even accidental
recollection of what's what or where.

I then listen section by section, first throwing out anything my ears find
annoying or insufficiently interesting. Typically this narrows the field by
at least 50%, and oftentimes by 70% or even 80%. The process is then
repeated with longer sections or complete movements, winnowing
down the field to half a dozen or so "finalists". I then listen to the
handful of complete performances that have survived the process
and rank them.

Pretty simple, efficient and accurate.

dk
Herman
2021-01-06 08:13:46 UTC
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As noted before, the Chopin PCs are best listened to 'by accident', in a concert program. Listening obsessively (I use the word advisedly) and checking out tiny details, weighing pros and cons does not bring commensurate rewards.
dk
2021-01-06 14:00:18 UTC
Reply
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Post by Herman
As noted before, the Chopin PCs are best listened to 'by accident', in a
concert program. Listening obsessively (I use the word advisedly) and
checking out tiny details, weighing pros and cons does not bring
commensurate rewards.
I do not particularly like either Chopin concerto, though I prefer the
second to the first. I do not listen to them often, and I do not listen
"obsessively".

I try to recalibrate my impressions of key piano works every few
years, and I use the analysis method I described for its efficiency.

YMMV.

dk
M&S Frost
2021-01-06 15:05:10 UTC
Reply
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Post by dk
Post by Herman
As noted before, the Chopin PCs are best listened to 'by accident', in a
concert program. Listening obsessively (I use the word advisedly) and
checking out tiny details, weighing pros and cons does not bring
commensurate rewards.
I do not particularly like either Chopin concerto, though I prefer the
second to the first. I do not listen to them often, and I do not listen
"obsessively".
I try to recalibrate my impressions of key piano works every few
years, and I use the analysis method I described for its efficiency.
YMMV.
dk
For those interested, this is the ARG's overview of the concertos from 2011. Very subjective, of course.

Concertos

It seems odd that, ever since he wrote them, the Chopin concertos have been criticized for their orchestration. Given the nature of his music, it seems perfect. We do not recommend the Balakirev or Tausig orchestrations (rarely recorded).

Piotr Paleczny recorded these with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Kasimierz Kord, one of the best conductors around. The result is a very Polish Chopin, beautifully played and in wonderful sound.

Emanuel Ax recorded them in Philadelphia with Ormandy, and that in itself recommends them--great orchestral contributions. Ax is not obtrusive; he offers a perfectly normal and adequate interpretation of each. Somehow the combination and the engineering make it a great recording, even if the pianist himself seems rather subdued. The Zimerman is wonderful--very thoughtful (some may think him mannered); Giulini (his conductor) is a poet, and you either like what he does or wish he would just get on with it.

Among recordings of both concertos, three recent ones stand out. Vasily Primakov is very poetic, lyrical, and sensitive--a present-day Gilels. Rafal Blechacz and Janne Mertanen both have beautiful tone and gorgeous phrasing and are almost as sensitive and poetic as Primakov. All three convey the emotional content of the music very well. Mertanen has the most bell-like piano sound; Blechacz sounds more "normal" in the big Concertgebouw. His recording is enhanced by the sounds of that big and wonderful orchestra, too. But Mertanen's Finnish orchestra does not let him down. Mertanen is faster than Blechacz, but neither takes extreme tempos. It amazes us that there are now so many good recordings of these concertos. There were very few when we did the first Chopin Overview in 1992.

Primakov Bridge 9278
Blechacz DG 477 8088
Mertanen Alba 247
Ax RCA 5317
Paleczny Canyon 3650
Zimerman DG 415970
ALSO LIKED:

Perahia is a poet, Mehta is not; and their recording sounds great.

Kissin on Melodiya: he was 12 and very impressive.

Fialkowska: robust, still elegant, not too sentimental.

MIXED VERDICT:

Argerich on DG: exciting, but as usual missing the serenity.

Demidenko is fluent and polished, but lacks temperament.

Ohlsson is Lisztian--fiery, colorful, overwrought.

Francois is simply eccentric.

Abbey Simon: beautiful spontaneity; orchestra barely adequate

Jan Simon: wonderful pianist, over-eager conductor, weak strings

Emanuel Ax redid both with a period-instruments group that our critic called rather reedy--it's not an attractive sound--but the antique piano (an Erard, which Chopin never played) brings some transparency to textures.

NOT LIKED:

Argerich EMI: dull sound.

Barenboim: more Barenboim than Chopin; nothing sustained or dwelled in

Lang Lang: artificial, loud, percussive, no flow, miserable orchestra

Berezovsky: somewhat plain and not moving

Sa Chen: perfectly adequate, boring phrasing & orchestra

Bachauer: big, but unsmiling; no tenderness or panache

Hobson: terrible sound; piano & orchestra seem out of it

Eugen Indjic: dull playing

Zacharias: lifeless

Nebolsin: shallow, timid, and dim

Pires: bass & sound weak

Rubinstein early stereo: mechanical, sound weak, orchestra scrawny

Rubinstein later: he's still mechanical; orch & sound improved

Rodgriguez: orchestra coarse

Youn: nothing special

Bolet: lethargic

Weissenberg: relentless--no poetry or warmth

Concerto 1

This is one of your Editor's favorite pieces, and he is very fussy about it. Most conductors don't put much into it, and that lets the pianists down. But the orchestra has so very many wonderful things to say that just staying out of the way is no way to conduct it. There can be so much expression in the woodwind solos, for example.

This is also a concerto that piano pounders cannot put across. It is simply too delicate and poetic.

Any recording with Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra will thrill you with gorgeous strings and great wind solos. Among others, there were Brailowsky, Ax, and Cliburn--all wonderful--but the greatest by far is the Gilels, where every phrase seems utterly perfect. Gilels makes Rubinstein seem grossly insensitive, and his tone is just as beautiful. If you have Gilels/Ormandy, that's all you need. Gilels is pretty steady, and if you prefer romantic lingering you might try the Cliburn. His extra expressiveness distorts the music a little, but some find it worthwhile.

Yundi Li has all that's needed in poetry and sensitivity. He is the new Gilels but has better sound. (There was nothing wrong with the sound of the Gilels, but recording has improved a bit in 50 years.) Andrew Davis is a much more sensitive conductor here than past experience led us to expect, and the English orchestra is fine and has great wind soloists.

Gilels Sony 89836
Li DG 8236
Cliburn RCA 7945
ALSO LIKED:

Tsujii on Harmonia Mundi: inspired.

MIXED RESPONSES

The Pollini, recorded when he was 16, is a classic; but many of us do not find it beautiful or appealing. One of us--usually a Pollini fan-called it streamlined and efficient with no charm whatsoever. The slow movement is missing its magic.

Earl Wild recorded this with Sir Malcolm Sargent, whose conducting is cold and aggressive, except in II, where the orchestra is subdued and the beauty of Wild's playing comes to the fore (Chesky).

Rosina Lhevinne does a sensitive job and sounds youthful and joyful, but there are better orchestral accompaniments.

NOT LIKED:

Ashkenazy seems bored with it.

Kern: glassy & aggressive

Shebanova: brittle & ordinary

Vlaieva: low octane

Olli Mustonen has hard tone and jerks the rhythm about.

Concerto 2

Apart from the sets of both concertos we can only name two of No. 2 alone. Cherkassky with Kempe has perfect poetry and exquisite playing. Idil Biret plays this beautifully on Naxos, but the main reason to own that disc is the fill: the Krakowiak and the La Ci Darem Variations--the brightest, wittiest performance of the latter and the most Polish-sounding one of the former (great rhythms).

Cherkassky Profil 4015
Biret Naxos 550369
ALSO LIKED

LaForet: free, fluid, and wonderfully elegant-Cortot-like

Malcuzynski: relaxed, lyrical, well-shaped phrases

MIXED FEELINGS

Previn's dull accompaniment tends to spoil

Pires's recording, in spite of the simple purity of her playing.

Vasary: remarkable grace and clarity, but weak orchestra & sound

DISLIKED

Lortie: heavy-handed

Blumental: weak in every respect

Vlaeva: low-octane readings, sometimes sluggish
JohnGavin
2021-01-06 16:10:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by M&S Frost
Post by dk
Post by Herman
As noted before, the Chopin PCs are best listened to 'by accident', in a
concert program. Listening obsessively (I use the word advisedly) and
checking out tiny details, weighing pros and cons does not bring
commensurate rewards.
I do not particularly like either Chopin concerto, though I prefer the
second to the first. I do not listen to them often, and I do not listen
"obsessively".
I try to recalibrate my impressions of key piano works every few
years, and I use the analysis method I described for its efficiency.
YMMV.
dk
For those interested, this is the ARG's overview of the concertos from 2011. Very subjective, of course.
Concertos
It seems odd that, ever since he wrote them, the Chopin concertos have been criticized for their orchestration. Given the nature of his music, it seems perfect. We do not recommend the Balakirev or Tausig orchestrations (rarely recorded).
Piotr Paleczny recorded these with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Kasimierz Kord, one of the best conductors around. The result is a very Polish Chopin, beautifully played and in wonderful sound.
Emanuel Ax recorded them in Philadelphia with Ormandy, and that in itself recommends them--great orchestral contributions. Ax is not obtrusive; he offers a perfectly normal and adequate interpretation of each. Somehow the combination and the engineering make it a great recording, even if the pianist himself seems rather subdued. The Zimerman is wonderful--very thoughtful (some may think him mannered); Giulini (his conductor) is a poet, and you either like what he does or wish he would just get on with it.
Among recordings of both concertos, three recent ones stand out. Vasily Primakov is very poetic, lyrical, and sensitive--a present-day Gilels. Rafal Blechacz and Janne Mertanen both have beautiful tone and gorgeous phrasing and are almost as sensitive and poetic as Primakov. All three convey the emotional content of the music very well. Mertanen has the most bell-like piano sound; Blechacz sounds more "normal" in the big Concertgebouw. His recording is enhanced by the sounds of that big and wonderful orchestra, too. But Mertanen's Finnish orchestra does not let him down. Mertanen is faster than Blechacz, but neither takes extreme tempos. It amazes us that there are now so many good recordings of these concertos. There were very few when we did the first Chopin Overview in 1992.
Primakov Bridge 9278
Blechacz DG 477 8088
Mertanen Alba 247
Ax RCA 5317
Paleczny Canyon 3650
Zimerman DG 415970
Perahia is a poet, Mehta is not; and their recording sounds great.
Kissin on Melodiya: he was 12 and very impressive.
Fialkowska: robust, still elegant, not too sentimental.
Argerich on DG: exciting, but as usual missing the serenity.
Demidenko is fluent and polished, but lacks temperament.
Ohlsson is Lisztian--fiery, colorful, overwrought.
Francois is simply eccentric.
Abbey Simon: beautiful spontaneity; orchestra barely adequate
Jan Simon: wonderful pianist, over-eager conductor, weak strings
Emanuel Ax redid both with a period-instruments group that our critic called rather reedy--it's not an attractive sound--but the antique piano (an Erard, which Chopin never played) brings some transparency to textures.
Argerich EMI: dull sound.
Barenboim: more Barenboim than Chopin; nothing sustained or dwelled in
Lang Lang: artificial, loud, percussive, no flow, miserable orchestra
Berezovsky: somewhat plain and not moving
Sa Chen: perfectly adequate, boring phrasing & orchestra
Bachauer: big, but unsmiling; no tenderness or panache
Hobson: terrible sound; piano & orchestra seem out of it
Eugen Indjic: dull playing
Zacharias: lifeless
Nebolsin: shallow, timid, and dim
Pires: bass & sound weak
Rubinstein early stereo: mechanical, sound weak, orchestra scrawny
Rubinstein later: he's still mechanical; orch & sound improved
Rodgriguez: orchestra coarse
Youn: nothing special
Bolet: lethargic
Weissenberg: relentless--no poetry or warmth
Concerto 1
This is one of your Editor's favorite pieces, and he is very fussy about it. Most conductors don't put much into it, and that lets the pianists down. But the orchestra has so very many wonderful things to say that just staying out of the way is no way to conduct it. There can be so much expression in the woodwind solos, for example.
This is also a concerto that piano pounders cannot put across. It is simply too delicate and poetic.
Any recording with Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra will thrill you with gorgeous strings and great wind solos. Among others, there were Brailowsky, Ax, and Cliburn--all wonderful--but the greatest by far is the Gilels, where every phrase seems utterly perfect. Gilels makes Rubinstein seem grossly insensitive, and his tone is just as beautiful. If you have Gilels/Ormandy, that's all you need. Gilels is pretty steady, and if you prefer romantic lingering you might try the Cliburn. His extra expressiveness distorts the music a little, but some find it worthwhile.
Yundi Li has all that's needed in poetry and sensitivity. He is the new Gilels but has better sound. (There was nothing wrong with the sound of the Gilels, but recording has improved a bit in 50 years.) Andrew Davis is a much more sensitive conductor here than past experience led us to expect, and the English orchestra is fine and has great wind soloists.
Gilels Sony 89836
Li DG 8236
Cliburn RCA 7945
Tsujii on Harmonia Mundi: inspired.
MIXED RESPONSES
The Pollini, recorded when he was 16, is a classic; but many of us do not find it beautiful or appealing. One of us--usually a Pollini fan-called it streamlined and efficient with no charm whatsoever. The slow movement is missing its magic.
Earl Wild recorded this with Sir Malcolm Sargent, whose conducting is cold and aggressive, except in II, where the orchestra is subdued and the beauty of Wild's playing comes to the fore (Chesky).
Rosina Lhevinne does a sensitive job and sounds youthful and joyful, but there are better orchestral accompaniments.
Ashkenazy seems bored with it.
Kern: glassy & aggressive
Shebanova: brittle & ordinary
Vlaieva: low octane
Olli Mustonen has hard tone and jerks the rhythm about.
Concerto 2
Apart from the sets of both concertos we can only name two of No. 2 alone. Cherkassky with Kempe has perfect poetry and exquisite playing. Idil Biret plays this beautifully on Naxos, but the main reason to own that disc is the fill: the Krakowiak and the La Ci Darem Variations--the brightest, wittiest performance of the latter and the most Polish-sounding one of the former (great rhythms).
Cherkassky Profil 4015
Biret Naxos 550369
ALSO LIKED
LaForet: free, fluid, and wonderfully elegant-Cortot-like
Malcuzynski: relaxed, lyrical, well-shaped phrases
MIXED FEELINGS
Previn's dull accompaniment tends to spoil
Pires's recording, in spite of the simple purity of her playing.
Vasary: remarkable grace and clarity, but weak orchestra & sound
DISLIKED
Lortie: heavy-handed
Blumental: weak in every respect
Vlaeva: low-octane readings, sometimes sluggish
JohnGavin
2021-01-06 16:16:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by M&S Frost
Post by dk
Post by Herman
As noted before, the Chopin PCs are best listened to 'by accident', in a
concert program. Listening obsessively (I use the word advisedly) and
checking out tiny details, weighing pros and cons does not bring
commensurate rewards.
I do not particularly like either Chopin concerto, though I prefer the
second to the first. I do not listen to them often, and I do not listen
"obsessively".
I try to recalibrate my impressions of key piano works every few
years, and I use the analysis method I described for its efficiency.
YMMV.
dk
For those interested, this is the ARG's overview of the concertos from 2011. Very subjective, of course.
Concertos
It seems odd that, ever since he wrote them, the Chopin concertos have been criticized for their orchestration. Given the nature of his music, it seems perfect. We do not recommend the Balakirev or Tausig orchestrations (rarely recorded).
Piotr Paleczny recorded these with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Kasimierz Kord, one of the best conductors around. The result is a very Polish Chopin, beautifully played and in wonderful sound.
Emanuel Ax recorded them in Philadelphia with Ormandy, and that in itself recommends them--great orchestral contributions. Ax is not obtrusive; he offers a perfectly normal and adequate interpretation of each. Somehow the combination and the engineering make it a great recording, even if the pianist himself seems rather subdued. The Zimerman is wonderful--very thoughtful (some may think him mannered); Giulini (his conductor) is a poet, and you either like what he does or wish he would just get on with it.
Among recordings of both concertos, three recent ones stand out. Vasily Primakov is very poetic, lyrical, and sensitive--a present-day Gilels. Rafal Blechacz and Janne Mertanen both have beautiful tone and gorgeous phrasing and are almost as sensitive and poetic as Primakov. All three convey the emotional content of the music very well. Mertanen has the most bell-like piano sound; Blechacz sounds more "normal" in the big Concertgebouw. His recording is enhanced by the sounds of that big and wonderful orchestra, too. But Mertanen's Finnish orchestra does not let him down. Mertanen is faster than Blechacz, but neither takes extreme tempos. It amazes us that there are now so many good recordings of these concertos. There were very few when we did the first Chopin Overview in 1992.
Primakov Bridge 9278
Blechacz DG 477 8088
Mertanen Alba 247
Ax RCA 5317
Paleczny Canyon 3650
Zimerman DG 415970
Perahia is a poet, Mehta is not; and their recording sounds great.
Kissin on Melodiya: he was 12 and very impressive.
Fialkowska: robust, still elegant, not too sentimental.
Argerich on DG: exciting, but as usual missing the serenity.
Demidenko is fluent and polished, but lacks temperament.
Ohlsson is Lisztian--fiery, colorful, overwrought.
Francois is simply eccentric.
Abbey Simon: beautiful spontaneity; orchestra barely adequate
Jan Simon: wonderful pianist, over-eager conductor, weak strings
Emanuel Ax redid both with a period-instruments group that our critic called rather reedy--it's not an attractive sound--but the antique piano (an Erard, which Chopin never played) brings some transparency to textures.
Argerich EMI: dull sound.
Barenboim: more Barenboim than Chopin; nothing sustained or dwelled in
Lang Lang: artificial, loud, percussive, no flow, miserable orchestra
Berezovsky: somewhat plain and not moving
Sa Chen: perfectly adequate, boring phrasing & orchestra
Bachauer: big, but unsmiling; no tenderness or panache
Hobson: terrible sound; piano & orchestra seem out of it
Eugen Indjic: dull playing
Zacharias: lifeless
Nebolsin: shallow, timid, and dim
Pires: bass & sound weak
Rubinstein early stereo: mechanical, sound weak, orchestra scrawny
Rubinstein later: he's still mechanical; orch & sound improved
Rodgriguez: orchestra coarse
Youn: nothing special
Bolet: lethargic
Weissenberg: relentless--no poetry or warmth
Concerto 1
This is one of your Editor's favorite pieces, and he is very fussy about it. Most conductors don't put much into it, and that lets the pianists down. But the orchestra has so very many wonderful things to say that just staying out of the way is no way to conduct it. There can be so much expression in the woodwind solos, for example.
This is also a concerto that piano pounders cannot put across. It is simply too delicate and poetic.
Any recording with Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra will thrill you with gorgeous strings and great wind solos. Among others, there were Brailowsky, Ax, and Cliburn--all wonderful--but the greatest by far is the Gilels, where every phrase seems utterly perfect. Gilels makes Rubinstein seem grossly insensitive, and his tone is just as beautiful. If you have Gilels/Ormandy, that's all you need. Gilels is pretty steady, and if you prefer romantic lingering you might try the Cliburn. His extra expressiveness distorts the music a little, but some find it worthwhile.
Yundi Li has all that's needed in poetry and sensitivity. He is the new Gilels but has better sound. (There was nothing wrong with the sound of the Gilels, but recording has improved a bit in 50 years.) Andrew Davis is a much more sensitive conductor here than past experience led us to expect, and the English orchestra is fine and has great wind soloists.
Gilels Sony 89836
Li DG 8236
Cliburn RCA 7945
Tsujii on Harmonia Mundi: inspired.
MIXED RESPONSES
The Pollini, recorded when he was 16, is a classic; but many of us do not find it beautiful or appealing. One of us--usually a Pollini fan-called it streamlined and efficient with no charm whatsoever. The slow movement is missing its magic.
Earl Wild recorded this with Sir Malcolm Sargent, whose conducting is cold and aggressive, except in II, where the orchestra is subdued and the beauty of Wild's playing comes to the fore (Chesky).
Rosina Lhevinne does a sensitive job and sounds youthful and joyful, but there are better orchestral accompaniments.
Ashkenazy seems bored with it.
Kern: glassy & aggressive
Shebanova: brittle & ordinary
Vlaieva: low octane
Olli Mustonen has hard tone and jerks the rhythm about.
Concerto 2
Apart from the sets of both concertos we can only name two of No. 2 alone. Cherkassky with Kempe has perfect poetry and exquisite playing. Idil Biret plays this beautifully on Naxos, but the main reason to own that disc is the fill: the Krakowiak and the La Ci Darem Variations--the brightest, wittiest performance of the latter and the most Polish-sounding one of the former (great rhythms).
Cherkassky Profil 4015
Biret Naxos 550369
ALSO LIKED
LaForet: free, fluid, and wonderfully elegant-Cortot-like
Malcuzynski: relaxed, lyrical, well-shaped phrases
MIXED FEELINGS
Previn's dull accompaniment tends to spoil
Pires's recording, in spite of the simple purity of her playing.
Vasary: remarkable grace and clarity, but weak orchestra & sound
DISLIKED
Lortie: heavy-handed
Blumental: weak in every respect
Vlaeva: low-octane readings, sometimes sluggish
Many sacred cows are challenged here - yet I found these reviews refreshing. Imagine going against the Rubinstein bandwagon, and calling him mechanical? - this emboldens me to admit that I’ve always felt somewhat indifferent to most of his stereo era recordings. I’d only say thatI probably like the Pollini #1 more than ARG did.
Henk vT
2021-01-06 20:30:13 UTC
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Thanks for the ARG's overview. I don't understand why Ax is favourably mentioned. Young Kissin's version is great indeed. Barenboim is a mediocre pianist who knows how to construct and deconstruct a climax like no one else. It's with pain in my heart that I agree with what is said about Rubinstein. Weissenberg remains one of my sins, unrelentless but in a unique way. Yundi Li was a very promising pianist until DG transformed the tubby young man in a pop artist. Malcuzynski remains my favourite Chopinist. BTW, Harasiewicz and Czerny-Stefanska are sorely missed.

Henk
dk
2021-01-06 21:29:26 UTC
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Post by Henk vT
Thanks for the ARG's overview. I don't understand why Ax is favourably
mentioned. Young Kissin's version is great indeed. Barenboim is a mediocre
pianist who knows how to construct and deconstruct a climax like no one
else. It's with pain in my heart that I agree with what is said about Rubinstein.
Weissenberg remains one of my sins, unrelentless but in a unique way. Yundi
Li was a very promising pianist until DG transformed the tubby young man in
a pop artist. Malcuzynski remains my favourite Chopinist. BTW, Harasiewicz
and Czerny-Stefanska are sorely missed.
While I do not disagree with some of your findings,
it looks like you are still living in a cave. Why don't
you go listen to Leschenko and Skolarski with an
open mind and open ears?

dk
Henk vT
2021-01-06 23:07:26 UTC
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Post by dk
Why don't
you go listen to Leschenko and Skolarski with an
open mind and open ears?
Well, I did. Leschenko is a great accompanist. As a soloist she's very uneven. However, she's a musician who deserves it to be taken seriously. Skolarski is a different matter. He gives me the creeps, even more so after listening to several other videos on his site on YT. My overall impression is best illustrated by the first bars of this piece:



Henk
dk
2021-01-07 00:28:07 UTC
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Post by Henk vT
Post by dk
Why don't
you go listen to Leschenko and Skolarski with an
open mind and open ears?
Well, I did. Leschenko is a great accompanist. As a soloist she's very uneven.
Evenness is the hallmark of machines.
Post by Henk vT
However, she's a musician who deserves it to be taken seriously. Skolarski is a
different matter. He gives me the creeps, even more so after listening to several
other videos on his site on YT. My overall impression is best illustrated by the
http://youtu.be/yqDRhZGkXlU
I don't hear your impressions in his playing.

dk
Henk vT
2021-01-07 11:10:30 UTC
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Post by dk
I don't hear your impressions in his playing.
<g> I'll be more explicit. Skolarski is one of those who sigh on every note etc. (to borrow your phrase) but without feeling. He isn't even sentimental, just polishing the sound and knitting the rubati together.

Henk

Frank Lekens
2021-01-06 21:34:04 UTC
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Post by Herman
As noted before, the Chopin PCs are best listened to 'by accident', in a concert program. Listening obsessively (I use the word advisedly) and checking out tiny details, weighing pros and cons does not bring commensurate rewards.
Still and all, now I'm listening to Polina Leschenko 'by accident', and
that is quite a nice surprise (and a nice change from the day's news).

Where do I know her from, I'm thinking, and suddenly I remember: if I'm
not mistaken she performed with Kopatchinskaja in Amsterdam a few years
ago. Back when people still performed live. That was a great recital as
well, as I recall.
--
Frank Lekens

http://fmlekens.home.xs4all.nl/
https://franklekens.blogspot.nl/
dk
2021-01-06 22:29:28 UTC
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Post by Frank Lekens
Post by Herman
As noted before, the Chopin PCs are best listened to 'by accident', in a
concert program. Listening obsessively (I use the word advisedly) and
checking out tiny details, weighing pros and cons does not bring
commensurate rewards.
Still and all, now I'm listening to Polina Leschenko 'by accident', and
that is quite a nice surprise (and a nice change from the day's news).
Wait until we see tonight's news! ;-)

dk
Ricardo Jimenez
2021-01-06 14:49:25 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by M&S Frost
Anyone have a strong preference? Are they on par with Zimerman or Argerich?
I have just completed my New Year's Chopin PC traversal,
listening to more than 60 versions of each concerto, and
including all the well known suspects.
http://youtu.be/M4yc_bFLrgc
http://youtu.be/UpXd11YFFrQ
Maurizio Pollini's 1960s recordings won honorable
honors in the "classical LTMSFI" style. I did not like
Argerich, Zimerman or Yundi.
dk
I'd be interested in your take on the 2 Cortot performances on
Youtube, both the playing and orchestral enhancement.
dk
2021-01-06 19:01:07 UTC
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Post by Ricardo Jimenez
Post by dk
Post by M&S Frost
Anyone have a strong preference? Are they on par with Zimerman or Argerich?
I have just completed my New Year's Chopin PC traversal,
listening to more than 60 versions of each concerto, and
including all the well known suspects.
http://youtu.be/M4yc_bFLrgc
http://youtu.be/UpXd11YFFrQ
Maurizio Pollini's 1960s recordings won honorable
honors in the "classical LTMSFI" style. I did not like
Argerich, Zimerman or Yundi.
I'd be interested in your take on the 2 Cortot performances
on Youtube, both the playing and orchestral enhancement.
I did not like the way he played it, so I didn't pay much
attention to the orchestral enhancements. My taste
has changed over time and I no longer think as highly
of Cortot as I used to.

dk
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