Chopin's two piano concertos have long been admired more as pianistic vehicles than as integrated works for piano and orchestra. But in his revelatory new recording, Krystian Zimerman suggests otherwise: The opening orchestral tuttis have so much more light, shade, orchestral color, and detail, you wonder if they've been rewritten. Every gesture, every instrumental solo is so specifically characterized that by the time the piano makes a dramatic entrance, the pieces have become operas without words.
Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Ohlsson said of this set, “This monumental recording project first came about when the American record company Arabesque approached me with an irresistible offer to record the complete works of Chopin.
Grigory Sokolov: a living legend of the piano whose public performances and recordings are as rare as the man is secretive. He stepped away from the limelight years ago, refusing to be idolised by a society avid for imagery. Under the winged fingers of the giant you hear the vibrancy of an inner song, wordless but not illegible. June 7 1990: concert and recording of Chopins Preludes by Grigory Sokolov, still relatively unknown in France.
Maria João Pires “shapes and colours every phrase, and with immaculate taste, and she makes sure the phrases end as eloquently as they begin,” wrote Gramophone in 1974. “She conveys not just the details but the relevance of every note to the whole … Best of all, she communicates everything she has discovered about the music, and it is worth having.” This Portuguese pupil of Wilhelm Kempff, Pires was one of the artists who defined the Erato label in the 1970s and 1980s. This 5-CD box gathers together the recordings she made over the period from 1976 to 1985 and it reflects the consistent focus of her repertoire, with its special emphasis on Austro-German composers of the Classical and early-Romantic periods. Embracing solo works, piano duets and concertos, it contains works by Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven, but also by Bach and Chopin.