Notes and Editorial Reviews
There are always pleasant surprises in a survey of this kind and mine was the Chopin playing of Adam Harasiewicz. He has the inestimable advantage of a very truthful Philips piano sound, which even in the early 1960s was impressively well balanced. His complete Nocturnes were made in groups over a period, which surely accounts for their freshness and spontaneity. This is obvious in the opening B flat minor, Op. 9 No. 1 and equally so in the following more famous E flat (the first Chopin work I bought on a 78 as a teenager, played by Moiseiwitsch); there is also a melting D flat, Op. 27 No.2 which is full of rhapsodic feeling. Just occasionally elsewhere in these Nocturnes the last degree of flexibility is missing (compared, say, with
performances by an artist of the calibre of Rubinstein), but this is always highly musical playing and consistently refreshing.
Harasiewicz's keen intelligence is felt even more strongly in the Preludes, which were recorded at the same time as a set (in 1962), apart from the last two (Nos. 25 and 26). The performances give the impression of an ongoing live recital with each work contrasted, yet somehow continuing the feeling of its predecessor. The playing is nimble and fleet when called for (as in No. 3 in G major, the glittering No. 16 in B flat minor and the flowing No. 23 in F), yet never suggests bravura for its own sake. He can be touching (No. 10 in E minor, or the nocturne-like No. IS in D flat), or bring admirable poise to the 'Sylphide' No. 7 in A, or the powerfully chordal No. 20 in C minor. At all times he puts the composer's interests first. Another firstrate bargain.
-- Gramophone [10/1994]
reviewing this set previously reissued as Philips 442266
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