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Chopin : les Valses; Ravel : Valses Nobles et Sentimentales


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1. No. 13 in D flat major Op 70 No. 3
2. No. 10 in B minor Op. 69/2
3. No. 14 in E minor, Op. posth
4. No. 1 in E flat Op. 18
5. No. 3 in A minor Op. 34 No. 2
6. No. 11 in G flat major Op. 70 No. 1
7. No. 9 in A flat major Op. 69 No. 1
8. No. 2 in A flat major Op. 34 No. 1 ('Valse brillante')
9. No. 4 in F major Op. 34 No. 3 ('Valse brillante')
10. No. 5 in A flat major Op. 42 ('Grande Valse')
11. No. 12 in F minor Op. 70 No. 2
12. No. 7 in C sharp minor Op. 64 No. 2
13. No. 6 in D flat major Op. 64 No. 1
14. No. 8 in A flat major Op. 64 No. 3
15. I. Modéré, très franc
16. II. Assez lent, avec une expression intense
17. III. Modéré
18. IV. Assez animé
19. V. Presque lent, dans un sentiment intime
20. VI. Vif
See all 22 tracks on this disc

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant, Elegant Performances Of Chopin's & Ravel's waltzes from Kovacevich May 28 2007
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Distinguished American pianist Stephen Kovacevich is best known for his brilliant interpretations of Beethoven's and Brahms' works for solo piano and piano and orchestra (For example, his early 1970s Philips recordings of the Beethoven Piano Concertos are still highly regarded by fans and music critics alike.). He is known not only for his intense technical brilliance, but also for his cantabile-like phrasing, at the keyboard. Much to my surprise he hasn't honed these traits by offering some elegant Chopin recordings for most of his career. However, now Kovacevich has turned his attention once more to Chopin's scores, offering a fine set of Chopin waltzes which are arranged chronologically by their probable dates of composition, not by their published opus numbers. He offers some finely nuanced, refined interpretations of these waltzes; interpretations which can be compared favorably with those of the great Artur Rubinstein, whom Kovacevich acknowledges in the liner notes as an important source of inspiration in his interpretations of both Chopin's and Ravel's scores. Indeed, he acknowledges Rubinstein's great love and affinity for these two sets of waltzes; a sterling acknowledgement that comes across musically in Kovacevich's own elegant performances of these works. Hopefully this is merely the first of a long-awaited series of new Chopin recordings from one of our finest contemporary pianists.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Only topped by Lipatti & Rubinstein March 17 2009
By J. Grant - Published on Amazon.com
This is a truly brilliant and splendidly played set of Chopin's Waltzes, bettered only by those of Lipatti and Rubinstein. However, the sound on this set is much better if that's your thing. I must admit that until recently the only Kovacevich material I owned was his Beethoven concertos. I have since discovered that he has a wealth of very fine recordings, from Grieg and Schumann's concertos to the Diabelli Variations (1968) and Beethoven's sonatas. So, thanks to this disc and the above mentioned, I'll be checking more into his recordings from the 60's and 70's especially.
Kovacevich in unusual territory (for him) Nov. 29 2014
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
I remember when this disc came out, after Kovacevich had completed his Beethoven sonatas and late Schubert for EMI. I bought it because neither Chopin nor Ravel was a composer I associated with Kovacevich, and I wondered if this heralded a new direction for him -- at 65 no less. Well, it doesn't seem to have heralded that, and the disc itself didn't make much of an impression in the magazines. However, the program note suggests that this is music that has mattered to Kovacevich, even if he hasn't programmed it often, and I think it's well worth hearing. For one thing, the piano sound is better than on most of his Beethoven and Schubert recordings -- it's quite bright, but not to the point of glassiness, but it is open and airy too, and the aural image on the whole is very pleasing. I haven't seen the Ravel programmed on a disc with Chopin's Waltzes before, and it's fascinating to hear Ravel's modernism and occasional impressionism (from 1911) in the context of Chopin's pieces, which even if they hew more closely to the dance, are nonetheless full of arresting tempo choices and opportunities for the pianist to employ expressive rubato. Kovacevich's Chopin is very forthright in its attack -- there is plenty of rubato in witty moments here and there, but he goes for a quite big sound and isn't afraid to drive home some of the climaxes with real power. For all that, there's nothing mechanical or charmless about it. He plays his own order of the 14, and makes at least two good choices. The Op.34 No. 2 is placed between the long vivace of the Op. Posth. 14th Waltz and the short molto vivace of Op. 70 no. 1, and it is beautifully and soberly done, with the contextual contrast telling. He ends with the three Op. 64 Waltzes ordered 2, 1, 3 (moderate-fast-moderate), again to telling effect, with the "Minute" being in effect the scherzo between the more developed pieces. The moderate No. 3 makes a fine conclusion.

Kovacevich has the measure of the Ravel "Valse Nobles . . ." as well -- these are remarkable pieces, that at times seem to allude to waltzes rather than BE waltzes. Ravel's judgment of the appropriate length for these quite strange pieces seems to me impeccable -- we're intrigued and charmed, and they stop before we get puzzled. Some seem Stravinskian, and some hearken back to Debussy. Each is given its distinctive contour, and the "lent" Epilogue -- by far the longest of the pieces at 4:40 -- is given a moving and eloquent performance here.


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