This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
EMI first reissued Claudio Arrau's 1960 Chopin Third Sonata and F minor Fantasy coupling in 1991. More detail and tonal richness distinguishes this sonic upgrade, although the transfers surely stem from the mono mastertape as they did last time around, despite EMI's indication to the contrary (the 1991 booklet notes claimed that the stereo tape was in too poor condition to be utilized). The B minor sonata finds Arrau at the top of his form. Taking the first movement's maestoso marking to heart, Arrau gives ample shape and meaning to every cantilena and decorative pattern, skimming over nothing. The development section's rich polyphony receives ample, full-bodied projection yet never sounds glutinous. Slight rhetorical underpinnings
similarly clarify the Scherzo's melodic motherlode. Without pauses, Arrau launches straight into the Largo, and sustains his basic slow tempo with a firm left-hand presence, the subtlest rubato, and gorgeous legato articulation. Arrau's amazingly honest technique allows him not only to give the Finale's rocky, arguably unpianistic textures their full due, but also to make them sound uncommonly vibrant and majestic.
There's obvious integrity and forethought informing Arrau's studied deliberation in the F minor Fantasy, yet his Philips remake dating from the late-1970s is leaner, more urgent in tone, and technically secure. Arrau digs beneath the surface glitter in Weber's rarely heard Konzertstücke and takes the composer's careful legato/marcato demarcations more seriously than most, truly catching fire in the Allegro passionato, abetted by the Philharmonia Orchestra's crisp playing under Alceo Galliera's sympathetic, alert leadership. I believe this performance is new to CD, and I hope its onetime LP discmate, the Tchaikovsky B-flat minor, will soon gain reissue (the time is ripe for a complete, systematic boxed set reissue devoted to Arrau's complete EMI output!). Perhaps the elfin spirit of Mendelssohn's Andante & Rondo Capriccioso is a little too mature and worldly for its own good, but what pianist wouldn't trade his eyeteeth for Arrau's awesome double-note mastery? Warmly recommended to Arrau fans.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra in F minor, Op. 79 by Carl Maria von Weber
Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Written: 1821; Dresden, Germany
Date of Recording: 1960
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
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