As complete sets of Brahms piano music go, it's hard to get more complete than this set by Martin Jones on Nimbus. Jones includes not only the canonical two Rhapsodies, three Sonatas, four Ballades, six sets of variations, ten Hungarian Dances, sixteen Waltzes and twenty-eight short piano pieces, but also the almost forgotten sarabandes, gigues, gavottes, studies, canons and transcriptions. Listeners looking for the most complete Brahms available need look no further. Listeners who do look no further, however, will have to settle for good but by no means great performances. Jones has a big tone coupled to an impressive technique and many of his performances are quite fine. But too often here he seems to be merely going through the motions, turning in accomplished but unexciting sometimes even dutiful performances. When extroverted virtuosity is called for in the Paganini Variations, Jones is almost but not altogether on top of the notes.
In 1997 Philips reissued Nikita Magaloff’s 1974-78 complete Chopin piano works cycle as a budget-priced, space-saving boxed set that did not last in the catalog very long. It now reappears courtesy of Newton Classics’ ongoing reissues of out-of-print items from Universal Classics’ back catalog.
This 15-disc set, recorded from 1990 to 1992, is a truly complete survey of Chopin's piano music, including juvenilia and the works for piano and orchestra. It may not be quite the triumph of Biret's Brahms set, in which the performances are competitive with the best to be heard anywhere. But all of this playing is thoroughly worthy of the music, and Biret's technique is strong enough to deal with such hurdles as the Études and Scherzi without flinching.