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Arrau Plays Chopin - The Two Concertos

Release Date: 05/31/2005 
Label:  Music & Arts Programs Of America Catalog #: 1158   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau
Conductor:  Otto KlempererFritz Busch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony OrchestraPhilharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Recorded in 1954 and 1950 respectively, these performances are justly famous among collectors for the spectacular energy—and subtlety—that Claudio Arrau brings to them. Those same collectors are apt to denigrate the slower, more dignified, but still wonderful studio recordings Arrau made decades later. (These are now available in a two-disc set on Philips.) Listeners to this Music & Arts disc will have to contend with a sound I found unpleasantly shrill, especially on the Second Concerto. For once, I wish my high-end stereo had a knob to turn down the treble. There are other sonic problems, besides the understandable surface noise. The orchestral passages, particularly in the Second Concerto under Busch, are damped down in volume. Read more />
I wish the sound were less grating, because these are impressive performances. I am particularly touched by the Second Concerto, where Arrau seems filled with some kind of noble fire. He is impassioned but in a most dignified way: the tension of his playing is simply thrilling. The unfolding of the great first theme in the Larghetto has rarely been played so beautifully. The recorded sound on the First Concerto is somewhat smoother and warmer: again the Larghetto is ravishingly played, with a bold lyricism and facility that the later recording does not quite equal, and here the recorded sound does not interfere. Neither recording allows us fully to appreciate Arrau’s famed subtlety of touch. Nonetheless, these are important recordings.

Michael Ullman, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
Date of Recording: 10/25/1954 
Venue:  Live  Cologne, West Germany 
Length: 40 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano no 2 in F minor, B 43/Op. 21 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Conductor:  Fritz Busch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1830; Poland 
Date of Recording: 10/25/1954 
Venue:  Live  New York City, NY 
Length: 31 Minutes 2 Secs. 

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