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Chopin: Piano Concertos (SACD/CD HYBRID) [Hybrid SACD]

Arthur Rubinstein Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 15.20 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful remastered reproduction Aug. 29 2011
Format:Audio CD
The quality of reproduction is as if Artur himself walked into a first class facility, and recorded himself live. A really good buy.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rubinstein's Chopin in Living Stereo March 25 2006
By Hank Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Rubinstein recorded the Chopin Concertos numerous times. This version of Chopin's first Concerto is particularly successful, partly thanks to the sensitive accompaniment of the New London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. Tempos are well-judged, phrasing is supple and natural, virtuosity is there, but not for its own sake. The sound on the original LP and the first CD issue was plagued by dropouts at the beginning of the Concerto--these have been smoothed over remarkably. Balance between orchestra and piano has also been improved.

The Second Concerto is somewhat less successful. Here, Rubinstein is partnered by Alfred Wallenstein, his favored accompanist during the 1950s and early 1960s. Wallenstein secures reasonable playing from the Symphony of the Air, then long past its earlier glory as the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Purists should be warned that, at Rubinstein's insistence, the violins do not play "sui ponticello" as Chopin indicated in the last movement. Rubinstein's playing is fine, but the overall enjoyment of the performance is hampered by the sonic picture, which remains synthetic and dryish--despite the best efforts at SACD remastering. The later version with Ormandy is to be preferred over this one.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars performance: 5 stars; sonics: 2 stars April 17 2008
By Rubén - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In the last 30 years I've listened to two different LP versions of this recording (the single-LP containing Cto #1 with the same cover as this SACD, and the double-LP version that contained both concertos plus the Andante Spianato) as well as the CD release from the '90s. The performances are excellent, but unfortunately, the recording was never done well, so the SACD engineers didn't have much to work with. If you purchase this knowing what to expect, you will enjoy the performance, but if you wish to have a "show-off" SACD for when company comes over, another Living Stereo such as the Offenbach Gaite Parisienne (which was recorded several years *earlier* than the Chopin) will knock your proverbial socks off.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reference recordings March 18 2008
By jsa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There are a number of fine couplings of the Chopin concertos in the catalog, however, so highly regarded were these Rubinstein recordings that for decades they were the standard by which all others were measured. Have they been superceded? Maybe, but they have a strong advantage in that they reflect what must have been hundreds of performances by the great Chopin pianist going back forty or more years. The best way to describe them is that they are very sturdy but elegant, completely fresh and inspired, splashed with poetic touches and also have plenty of muscle in the virtuoso passages.

The sonics, dating from 1958 and 1961, are naturally not state of the art, especially the second concerto which is the older of the two and in which the piano is a little dimmer than I recall from previous LP and cd incarnations. I do, however, think the sound on the first concerto is an improvement over anything I've heard before.

Very warmly recommended.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very few words necessary for this May 29 2010
By Jurgen Lawrenz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The sounds coming off this disc are among the most beautiful ever committed to a mechanical recording device. No, I don't mean the recorded sound -- I mean the sound produced by a living human musician on his piano. This includes such items that no microphone technique can efface, however poor it may be: impeccable legato, perfect phrasing, living inside the music with your imagination, bringing it to life in vibrant splendour. The actual sounds coming out of your loudspeakers may not be as luminous when you compare them to a digital rexording. But this is music-making, not record making! This is Chopin, not musical wallpaper. You have to engage your heart together with your ears, or you'll lose the plot!
I can think of only one other Chopin concerto recording in this class: Piano Concerto 1. Very different in spirit, but equally valid. The Second Concerto had no rival to match Rubinstein.
So once in a while you must forget your loudspeakers and consider just the music. then you'll appreciate what a miracle this recording is, and you'll be grateful having had the chance to audition it.
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth having Feb. 26 2014
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Two splendid accounts here, with the sound having come up very well from 1958 (no. 2) and 1961 (No. 1) in the remastering. The piano has plenty of presence, and so does the orchestra, and neither conductor seems to be apologizing for the young Chopin's scoring. The orchestral parts are presented with utmost directness. The sound of the orchestra might be a touch more congested in No. 2, but the piano sound is marginally better in No. 2 also. It was recorded in Carnegie Hall, while the London-recorded No. 1 has just a touch of glassiness at times. But all that doesn't really matter: Rubinstein plays with verve and force in both concertos, and if No. 2 struck me as more compelling, that might be because it simply is the better piece, with a slyer wit in the finale and a real tension in the slow movement, while the slow movement of No. 1 seems more unruffled in its limpid lyricism. The relative forwardness of the piano means that in No. 1 at least Pollini's almost contemporary performance catches more light and shade by virtue of its better balance, but these accounts are preferable as recordings to Perahia's disappointing versions with Mehta and have a bit more presence than Ax's good performances with Ormandy. Highly recommended!
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