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Solo Piano Works Box set
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Chopin: The Piano Works
Top Customer Reviews
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.
To start with, those mediums that are Ashkenazy's and no one else's: Nocturnes, Polonaises, Mazurkas, Ballades, Scherzos, Waltzes.
I've heard various recordings of the Nocturnes, mostly by Rubinstein (who I've never enjoyed, really), but nobody can light a candle to Ashkenazy's emotionally-gripping Nocturnes, for every one of these gentle mood pieces will reach into you and gently caress your reflective soul. The Polonaises, under Ashkenazy, resound like the echos of cannon-fire, played (attacked?) with battering-ram force. I almost shiver under the power of the Op. 44 Polonaise! The Polonaise-Fantasie, every time I listen to it, throws me into an unbelievable world of mystery and wonder because, like the Third Sonata, this has to express some of the most sincere human emotions I've ever found in music; it searches for meaning through deep introspection, swimming through the mysteries of the human psyche. The Ballades, Scherzos, and Waltzes come through with never-before-seen grandeur, never leaving any room for you to question its worth or its power.
Now, those mediums which are best found through other pianists: Preludes, Etudes, Sonatas, and select miscellaneous works by Chopin.
For the Preludes, Etudes, and Sonatas, I strongly recommend Maurizio Pollini. Ashkenazy's Etudes, I'm sorry to say, I found utterly deplorable.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
There is Chopin. There is Ashkenazy. There is the London recording. That combination sounds like it should be excellent. It's not. It's way, way, w-a-y better than that. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004
Apart from the superb technique and glorious interpretation of this magnificent music, what I like best is the recording ambiance that sounds like I'm sitting on the bench right... Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2004
In a few words, the early 80s starts the new era for Ashkenazy and most of piano recordings past that days are odd and tasteless. Well, it's business. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2003 by Mort
I can't say exactly how much I enjoy this box set. All Chopin's piano music played by one of the best, if not the overall best Chopin expert. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2003 by Jazzcat
What a great set - 13 discs of Chopin delivered with technical elan and profound feeling. This is a treasure trove of great music which will provide years of listening enjoyment.Published on June 21 2003
I only took two years of piano, and I'm not even a big fan of piano music. So what am I doing reviewing this? Because I'm not a big fan of piano! Read morePublished on June 12 2001 by samantha
I got to know Chopin from listening to a couple performances on a scratched up CD I rented from the ugly library. Read morePublished on July 12 2000 by Joseph Montano
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