Many pianists have tried their hands at Chopin's Nocturne's; few have created anything other than a pretty picture with any of them! The exception to this catalogue of mediocrity was the great Arthur Rubinstein. His performance of these pieces was romantic without being sentimental, powerful without being painful and deep without drowning the listener. In the years since Rubinstein's death, lovers of Chopin have been fishing about for an artist who can do justice to the nocturnes. Maria Joao Pires is that artist. Her interpretations strip much of the drawing room cliche from these works and present them with a power and a lack of pretense that I find as enjoyable as it is refreshing. The passion of her readings are raw in many places, but when required her playing has a delicate shimmering quality with an almost "otherworldly" beauty. I suppose that in comparison, Rubinstein's performance has a beauty that just doesn't exist anymore, but of her generation and in comparison to any one else, Pires is pre-eminent.