Chopin pianists

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stefanher
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Chopin pianists

Post by stefanher » Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:15 am

I seem to have a serious problem with this. Every new recording I hear & is often given rave reviews may strike me as impressive but nowhere near as good as Rubinstein/Horowitz/Gilels. A recent case in point was the pairing of the Chopin sonatas by Hamelin- in view of his supposedly legendary technique I decided to compare his performance to Horowitz's- who was more imaginative & technically superior.

So am I doomed? I'm seriously thinking of buying the Ohlsson set as well as the new Polish original instrument set not to mention some releases by young artists such as Fliter & Wang but wonder if it will just end in further frustration.

By the way did anyone ever identify the Preludes recording by Hatto? That was the best I have ever heard- it made Rubinstein sound "ordinary".

maestrob
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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:14 pm

Ohlsson is good, but very "plain vanilla" to my ears. I haven't heard the Hamelin, but he's a great artist in my book, so am disappointed in your reaction. How about giving Guiomar Novaes a try? Her Chopin is some of her best work, simply outstanding, especially the First Concerto w/Bamberg and the Nocturnes....

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by John F » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:26 pm

stefanher wrote:I seem to have a serious problem with this. Every new recording I hear & is often given rave reviews may strike me as impressive but nowhere near as good as Rubinstein/Horowitz/Gilels.
By "new," do you mean recently made, or just new to you? If the latter, there are lots of not-so-new recordings of Chopin that are very much worthwhile. You can do some sampling on YouTube to check some of them out. As for present-day Chopin players, I can't say that any stick in my memory as really outstanding in that repertoire, however good they may be in other music.
John Francis

Lance
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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Lance » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:50 pm

While I am a huge fan of Marc-André Hamelin (and have, near as I know his complete recorded output), I have been somewhat disappointed in his recordings of what we may call standard repertoire, i.e., his Chopin and Schumann. He seems to excel in the lesser known works by composers such as Alkan, Godowsky, and myriad others from, particularly the Romantic period. Our ears may be more accustomed to the giants who specialisze in Chopin by the likes of a Rubinstein, Horowitz, Moiseiwitsch, Cortot, Brailowsky, Lipatti, François, Malcuzynski, and later by Richter, Michelangeli, Moravec, Argerich, and a few others. I believe that the first batch set the standard for Chopin piano-playing that "sticks in one's ears" (not to mention hearts). That doesn't mean there are not wonderful and exciting pianists playing Chopin today. However, when you make "recorded" comparisons, you tend to follow your heart. Stephen Hough is an exquisite Chopinist; Janina Fialkowska and Emanuel Ax follow very much in the Rubinstein tradition, especially Ax. I have heard some truly wonderful playing of Chopin by Bruce Hungerford, who may be more remembered with his playing of, particularly, Beethoven.

Fortunately, there are so many who have left outstanding recordings of Chopin's music [perhaps less for that of Schumann] that could formulate another long list, including Cziffra, Magaloff, Askenase, Tryon, Slenczynska, Ogdon, Fiorentino, Pachmann, Hofmann, Barere, Arrau, Cherkassky, and on and on to a gigantic mix of pianists. I can't begin to tell you, for example, how many recordings I have of Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in G Minor. Most of them have something very special to say. With recorded music, it's not like reading the same book over and over ... but we tend to find new things—new discoveries—in relistening to many of our recordings ... among the joys of having such collections!

This, of course, is all just one man's opinion.
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Jared
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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Jared » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:12 pm

just a quick question here... how do you feel Ashkenazy rates as a Chopin pianist to your ears? Do you like him, or should he stick to Rachmaninov? :?:

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Werner » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:44 pm

Lance, you've hit the nail on the head by reminding us that there are so many opportunities to be enthralled by any one of a large number of performers, presenfing the magnificence of whatever masterwork under discussion here.

Your mention of Bruce Hungerord's Chopin backs up my point. Here is an artist, unfortunately taken from us before his time, who operated at an exalted level of artistry. That was true of his Chopin as it was of his Beethoven.

This is why I don't believe in comparative evaluation (by rank or number.) Listening today to Hungerford's Chopin is undoubtedly rewarding but should not overshadow the enjoyment Emanuel Ax - for instance - may give us in the same work on another day.
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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Lance » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:28 pm

Yes, I admire Ashkenazy as a Chopinist. I have his complete recordings on British Decca [recently reissued in an affordable boxed set, 478 2282, 13 CDs]. However, I more prefered the pianist in his younger days, particularly the Chopin Etudes {Melodiya} and repertoire that appeared on the Testament label.
Jared wrote:Just a quick question here... how do you feel Ashkenazy rates as a Chopin pianist to your ears? Do you like him, or should he stick to Rachmaninov? :?:
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gperkins151
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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by gperkins151 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:34 pm

My favorite Chopianists are Rosenthal, Moiseiwitsch, Sokolov, Arrau, Tipo, Moravec, Wasowski and Rubinstein.

For the concertos, I love Zimerman's recording with the Polish Orchestra on DG.
George

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:23 pm

(1) Love Alexandre Tharaud's work.

(2) Also, Janina Fialkowska, who lives in our part of Canada, has established a strong reputation for Chopin in concert. We've seen her live on several occasions over the years. I'm pleased to see that her newest recording is garnering exceptional reviews.

http://www.janinafialkowska.com/cd.aspx?cdid=15

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:52 am

Get the set of recordings by the FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE, all are extremely good, but are on Fortepiano...fpor modern Gran Piano then Ivan Moravec is a worthwhile place to start, and so is Sokolov...i'll pass on Ashkenazy and Ohlsson, but, I do also like Tharaud and Primakov...for the Concertos then Zimmermann on DG, Pollini on EMI, Zacharias on MDG and Lise De LaSalle on Naive...

Hamelin leaves me cold and i'm finally giving up on him, I bought his own Etudes disc that everyone raved about and found it Dull, Dull, Dull... :wink:
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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Holden Fourth » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:32 am

Jared wrote:just a quick question here... how do you feel Ashkenazy rates as a Chopin pianist to your ears? Do you like him, or should he stick to Rachmaninov? :?:
In his earlier days he was very good indeed. To my ears his Etudes, Waltzes and Polonaises are must haves. You could also happily enjoy his Nocturnes, Ballades, Scherzos.

stefanher
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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by stefanher » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:03 am

John F wrote:
stefanher wrote:I seem to have a serious problem with this. Every new recording I hear & is often given rave reviews may strike me as impressive but nowhere near as good as Rubinstein/Horowitz/Gilels.
By "new," do you mean recently made, or just new to you? If the latter, there are lots of not-so-new recordings of Chopin that are very much worthwhile. You can do some sampling on YouTube to check some of them out. As for present-day Chopin players, I can't say that any stick in my memory as really outstanding in that repertoire, however good they may be in other music.


No- just new to me. Doesn't matter if its Cherkassky or Stephen Hough. Off topic Bruce Hungerford seems to have a big fan base here- anybody know where I can find a discography? None of the net sites seems to have one. Is it the general feeling that he was a great pianist or is it just one or two people's personal preference?

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by dirkronk » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:09 am

stefanher wrote:Every new recording I hear & is often given rave reviews may strike me as impressive but nowhere near as good as Rubinstein/Horowitz/Gilels.
Well, there IS a reason for this. Those guys were g-o-o-d.
I had to re-learn to love Rubinstein's stereo recordings, after feeling jaded with his Chopin for a decade or so, but take it from me...second time is charm. (His "middle era" recordings...late '40s and early '50s have appeal, too.) I'd put Moravec in the same elevated category.

You've mentioned Gilels, others have mentioned Ashkenazy (a surprise to some perhaps, but those Melodiya AND early Decca recordings are quite good indeed).

For concertos, I still like the once highly-praised Pollini/Kletzki and, much more recent, Zimerman's...and Haskil and others have given us very good ones, as well.

As has been hinted at elsewhere, some pianists seem to strike gold in one thread of Chopin, but not in others...or gave us far too little of that composer's work. Solomon only did one CD's worth of recordings, but it's very fine IMO. I don't know Hungerford's Chopin, but based on his Beethoven, I'm not surprised his name has been mentioned. Kapell gave us some wonderful mazurkas, sonatas and assorted other pieces. Richter isn't usually a top-of-mind choice for Chopin, but don't count him out...I've heard astoundingly good polonaises, ballades, etc. from him.

If you're going to look into any historical recordings at all, please don't miss Rachmaninoff (his funeral march sonata is like no one else's), Friedman or Cortot...all of whom give different but strikingly appealing Chopin performances.

More later, if memory and time allow.

Cheers,

Dirk

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Jared » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:29 am

Holden Fourth wrote:
Jared wrote:just a quick question here... how do you feel Ashkenazy rates as a Chopin pianist to your ears? Do you like him, or should he stick to Rachmaninov? :?:
In his earlier days he was very good indeed. To my ears his Etudes, Waltzes and Polonaises are must haves. You could also happily enjoy his Nocturnes, Ballades, Scherzos.
thanks HF, I'm really very new to Chopin, and whilst I enjoyed the disk I had, I have no other pianists interpretations with which to compare at present, so it's difficult for me to judge.

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Steinway » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:37 am

As usual, a subject that cannot be anything but a decision as to what pianist's recordings get you in the guts.

I'm surprised that in all of the artists listed, nobody mentioned:

Perahia..the Ballades, my overall favorite Chopin recording

Pollini..The Sonatas

Pogorelich..the Scherzos

Wirssaladze..The Etudes

Biret.. The Ballades, Bercuese & Fantasie

Ax ...Concerto # 1

Perahia..Concertos 1 & 2

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by slofstra » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:55 am

You can listen to a bit of Janina Fialkowska on the BBC Music web site.
http://www.bbcmusicmagazine.com/feature ... fialkowska

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:33 am

Cliftwood wrote:As usual, a subject that cannot be anything but a decision as to what pianist's recordings get you in the guts.

I'm surprised that in all of the artists listed, nobody mentioned:

Perahia..the Ballades, my overall favorite Chopin recording

Pollini..The Sonatas

Pogorelich..the Scherzos

Wirssaladze..The Etudes

Biret.. The Ballades, Bercuese & Fantasie

Ax ...Concerto # 1

Perahia..Concertos 1 & 2
As usual, you hit the nail on the head! :wink:

I happen to love Perahia's Barcarole above all others, and Wirssaladze is in a class of her own, outstanding!

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by dirkronk » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:51 am

Cliftwood wrote:As usual, a subject that cannot be anything but a decision as to what pianist's recordings get you in the guts.
Agreed. And of course, that's why I listed what I listed. But I've also learned not to let YOUR lists go unheeded, Cliftwood. Ergo, I now officially need to listen to more Chopin by Perahia. Oddly enough, though I still have and enjoy his early recording of Mendelssohn concertos and a handful of Mozart, I have allowed almost everything else Perahia's done to fly under my radar until recently, when I belatedly paid attention to his Beethoven concerti with Haitink.

Wirrsaladze I already know here.
Pollini, too, though NOT his sonatas...so I'll look for those.

BTW, I should have listed Richter's recording of the Chopin scherzi: that was a recording that was once highly thought of, now seemingly has waned as a critical favorite, but which I still find riveting.

Cheers,

Dirk

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by fmnewyork » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:53 pm

You could pick up the Marston Century of Romantic Chopin set and hear dozens of great performances by many different pianists. You might discover some new loves and then could seek out additional recordings by those pianists.
Farhan

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:12 pm

Ivan Moravec is perhaps my favorite Chopinist. Also Emmanuel Axe; Pollini, and Howard Shelley.
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by StephenSutton » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:49 pm

Historically perhaps Rubinstein, I find Moiseiwitch's recordings unexciting. For the Nocturnes I'd have to pick our own by Bernard d"Ascoli - a slightly untraditional reading which won't please everybody but has pleased plenty..
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Re: Chopin pianists

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:14 am

StephenSutton wrote:Historically perhaps Rubinstein, I find Moiseiwitch's recordings unexciting. For the Nocturnes I'd have to pick our own by Bernard d"Ascoli - a slightly untraditional reading which won't please everybody but has pleased plenty..
I too don't care for Moiseiwich's playing, but, as far as the Nocturnes are concerned I urge you to seek out a new recording by Pascal Amoyel...
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