Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Preludes originally were coupled with a selection of Nocturnes, while the Second and Fourth Ballades plus the Fantasie stem from a disc that contained the remaining Ballades as well as the Barcarolle. We have the best of both discs here. Jorge Bolet's aristocratic refinement and cultivated, deep-in-the-keys sonority resonate with gentle yet indisputable authority. Even in the 16th and 24th Preludes, or similarly tumultuous moments in the Ballades and Fantasie, Bolet coaxes the music forth rather than hammering it out. Certain piano mavens, to be certain, prefer Bolet's more spontaneous and fiery live 1974 Preludes from Carnegie Hall (reissued in Philips Great Pianists series). These studio remakes, though, are more ample of tone,
internalized in expression, and architecturally fluid--and let's not forget the better sound. We might miss Moravec's more firmly drawn dynamic contrasts, Arrau's confrontational soul-searching, or Cortot's reckless poetry; but there's no denying Bolet's seasoned mastery, from which any hotshot piano competition winner can learn.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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