These recordings show Ashkenazy at the height of his powers as a pianist. In the four Scherzos he takes Chopin’s ‘presto’ markings at face value, and the virtuosity of his vertiginous performances is dazzling. The Ballades, by way of contrast, are lingering accounts: beautiful playing, in all conscience, though there are times when one might have wished the music to flow just a little more naturally. The piano tone in these pieces is a little hard at times, but don’t let that worry you: this disc is an essential acquisition for anyone who loves Chopin – the more of a bargain in that it contains the essence of what was originally housed on two LPs. For an alternative view of the Ballades (and a particularly compelling view of the continual FRead more major/A minor vacillations of No. 3), Murray Perahia’s beautifully recorded 1994 version is warmly recommended.
Love this!June 12, 2015By gwen t. (Culver City, CA)See All My Reviews"A beautiful recording! Ashkenazy plays brilliantly, and his phrasing and shading are so wonderful. If you love Chopin, this is a must-have!"Report Abuse
A Sumptuous PerformanceFebruary 6, 2013By albert l. (DALY CITY, CA)See All My Reviews"Ashkenazy is at his best in the soft, barely audible segments. The notes are like feathers, swirling slowly in the air, coming to rest so lightly. These interpretations are masterful and are bound to become the gold standard by which others are measured."Report Abuse