"Although this phenomenally popular body of music has attracted almost every important pianist of the last 150 years, its unlikely that Frédéric Chopin ever found, or will ever find, a more ideal interpreter than Artur Rubinstein... The key to Rubinstein's greatness as a Chopin interpreter was the combination of utter naturalness as a performer and his enormously sophisticated musical mind. Nothing ever seems forced or premeditated: there are no sharp edges or sudden flashes of insight. In fact,the illusion the performances create is one of the music flowing, without benefit of a human intermediary, directly from Chopin's heart to the listener's... At almost every moment in these classicRead more recordings, Rubinstein discovers some wonder of color or phrasing, brings out a beautiful inner voice it seems we've never heard before, and in general creates the impression of a man for whom playing this often fiendishly difficult music is no more difficult than breathing or making love." -- Jim Sveda, from
The Record Shelf Guide to the Classical Repertoire
On 11 discs this set contains virtually all of Artur Rubinstein's classic stereo recordings made for RCA in the 1950's and 60's. In addition there is a bonus disc, number 11, with earlier interpretations from 1946 of the Berceuse, Barcarolle and Sonata no. 2. The later stereo recordings of these works are included in the set as well, but this one mono disc also includes the only RCA recording of the Preludes, Op.28. Read less
Rubinstein's Stereo Chopin at Super Budget PriceDecember 16, 2011By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH)See All My Reviews"Rubinstein's stereo cycle of Chopin's recordings has been issued in boxed set for several times, starting with this version. In three respects, this cannot be considered a complete issue: Rubinstein didn't record the Op. 10 & 25 Etudes, he did not record peripheral works like the First Sonata, and this set does not include early stereo versions of the Berceuse and Trois Nouvelles Etudes from the 1950s (in both cases, there are 1960s versions here). It's no surprise that RCA would choose Rubinstein's last cycle of these works for reissue: recorded in stereo, they are easy to market to a generation accustomed to excellent sound (indeed, some would only consider DDD recordings, leaving this out of consideration). But Rubinstein changed over time, he matured and mellowed, and by the time these recordings were made, he was already considered the elder statesman of Chopin interpreters. In general, his later approach is better suited to larger scale works like the Sonatas, but I prefer the spontaneity of his trailblazing 1930s versions of the Nocturnes, Mazurkas, and Scherzos, and the controlled fire of his 1950s set of Polonaises. There is one mono disc in this set, from 1946, including Rubinstein's first recording of the Sonata, Op 35, and his only version of the Preludes, Op. 28 -- neither of which show the pianist at his best. These recordings were originally issued as complete sets by genre, and RCA mostly follows the original programming concept (with the exception that the Mazurkas and Nocturnes are published on 2 CDs instead of 3 LPs). While this makes sense from a collector's perspective, I can't imagine wanting to to listen to all of the Nocturnes or Mazurkas in a row. (It would be nice if Sony would issue a box of some of Rubinstein's more imaginatively programmed albums, like the French Recital, Brahms I Love, and Chopin I Love series.) The sound here is from Rubinstein producer Max Wilcox's 1980s remastering of Rubinstein's recordings, which faithfully reproduces the pianist's distinct tone, although it has a bit less presence than BMG's 1999 remastering."Report Abuse
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