I have listened to the works of a number of composers, but Chopin always stands out with his remarkable ability to translate raw human emotion into musical tones from the piano. In my opinion, what other composers might have sought to accomplish with the variety of voices in the orchestra, Chopin was able to do with one instrument. To replicate this is no easy task, and Ashkenazy does a fantastic job in this set of CDs.
The music of Chopin contains so much pure poetic beauty, but I think his true genius comes through in pieces written in the minor keys. Chopin was a truly great blues composer of his time. I suppose that the most common vehicle for expressing "blues" or "tragedy" in that era was the opera. But Chopin could accomplish it without the need for words. He knew how to express human pain and angst. Take the Nocturne in E minor, for example (Opus 72 #1). If you can appreciate the blues, then I'm sure you'd have no trouble hearing the pathos in that piece played by Ashkenazy. To understand, appreciate, and especially to play the blues, one must be able to feel the blues. And again, to express this musically is no easy task. For the piano, it requires subtle technique with dynamics and license in meter (which Chopin was occasionally criticized for) to truly translate the emotion. Ashkenazy does this quite well.
I'm no expert in judging the electronic quality of a recorded CD, but I detected no flaws in that respect. I am an appreciator of the music. And in that light, I definitely recommend this CD set.