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Chopin Nocturnes - CD Review

A sticker on the cover notes that in this two-CD set "the greatest of all living Chopin interpreters records the composer's best-loved works for the first time". Greatest? Best? Two big claims, but completely justified. Pollini won the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1960 and his stature has risen steadily since. Here are 19 titanic interpretations. My all-time favourite performances, by the late Artur Rubinstein, are almost unbearably poetic, mystical, and rarified, ravishing in tone, colour and shape. Pollini concedes little in either poetry or imagination, but is much more dramatic and grounded. He brings out the fire in Chopin's soul, yet every note is perfectly nuanced. These performances are the distillation of a lifetime's reflection and playing, and they are utterly worth the wait. For me, this is perhaps the CD of the year.

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Posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2005


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