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Chopin: Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Zimmerman , Frederic Chopin , Giulini Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.95
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1. Concerto for piano and Orchestra in E minor: Con No.1, Op.11- I. Allegro maestoso
2. Con No.1, Op.11- II. Romanze:laghetto
3. Con No.1, Op.11- III. Rondo: vivace
4. Con No.2, Op.21- I. Maestoso
5. Con No.2, Op.21- II. Larghetto
6. Con No.2, Op.21-III. Allegro vivace

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the First Choice Feb. 20 2000
Format:Audio CD
Like the Schumann concerto, the recordings of these two works of Chopin constitute a pretty crowded field. They seem to be a rite of passage for every pianist who wants to locate his or her repertoire in the nineteenth century and illustrate his or her technical prowess. Recorded in the late '70's, at the beginning of Zimerman's illustrious and still-thriving career, I think these two still stand above all others (even Zimerman's latest where he conducts from the keyboard). Zimerman has so much power and technique to burn, that the grand conceptions of the first movements are effortlessly met; yet it is his ability to communicate the pathos and lyrical melancholy of the slow movements without over-sentimentalization that makes these recordings so special. Giulini has the orchestra stand back from Zimerman's playing, as he should, since both concertos are primarily showpieces for the pianist. As brilliant new virtuosi come and go over the next few decades, I really do think this recording will remain the standard for these very popular works, as they have been since they were released more than 20 years ago.
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By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Zimerman's earlier performances are full of panache and authority remarkable for such a young pianist, or indeed for any pianist. These are a first choice. The recorded sound is excellent; the piano balance is a little, but not grossly, forward, but I find this fully acceptable in the Chopin concertos. Those choosing between these earlier recordings and Zimerman's new ones with a hand-picked orchetra, also on Deutsche Grammophon, are urged to go for the older recordings with Giulini, because they have much more spontaneity and freshness. The new ones aren't bad, but Zimerman is often quite mannered. He also has the dubious distinction of being the first to require 2 discs for the Chopin piano concertos--every other coupling I've ever come across comfortably fits on one CD.
UPDATE: In Europe Deutsche Grammophon has already re-released this album as part of their Originals series (at mid-price isntead of the current release's full price). If you can hold on a bit, I would wait for that issue...contrary to what a reviewer below says, this recording is NOT digital (it is in very fine, if very late, analog), so the "Original Image Bit Processing" remastering for DG Originals may be a marginal improvement--not that this remastering is cause for complaint.
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By John Kwok TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Without a doubt, Zimerman's performances are a triumph of technique and style. I agree with a previous reviewer who noted Zimmerman's superb technique and lyrical playing. Zimmerman isn't quite as flashy as Argerich, yet he gives performances that are as emotionally stirring as hers, without forsaking technique. And I find that his technique is as flawless as Claudio Arrau's, yet Zimmerman plays more warmly than does the late Chilean master. Maybe it's fitting that a Polish pianist gives two of the finest performances of Chopin's main orchestral works, since Zimerman knows exactly when to change the volume of his warm, expressive playing. During his brief tenure with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carlo Maria Giulini transformed this underrated American orchestra into a world-class ensemble capable of playing as well as its peers in Berlin and Vienna. Here both he and the orchestra are sympathetic accompanists to Zimmerman's exceptional playing, recognizing that Chopin regarded both works as masterpieces for virtuoso pianists such as himself. This is among Deutsche Grammophon's best engineered recordings of the early digital era. Of all the versions of Chopin's concerti available, this is the one that belongs in your collection.
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By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
These late 1970's recordings sound excellent on CD. These performances with Giulini conducting are far superior to the new, slower versions Zimerman did twenty years later in the late 1990's. So much superior in fact, that I wonder if people are drawn to certain recordings just because they are new, rather than because they are better than previous versions. The newer Zimerman version is currently more popular but not nearly as good as this 1979 recording, and its a shame more people are not aware of what is available before buying a particular version and then raving about it in a review.
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