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Chopin: Ballades, Scherzos / Rubinstein


Release Date: 09/14/2004 
Label:  Rca Victor Living Stereo Catalog #: 61396   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Little new can be added to what's been said of these tried, true, and extremely satisfying catalog staples. Their most recent transfer in RCA's 1999 complete Rubinstein collection boasts a fullness and impact unmatched in earlier CD transfers. However, the advantage of SACD's multi-channel format allows home listeners to perceive the left, center, and right three-track stereo perspective as originally captured in the master tape, as opposed to a two-channel mixdown. The results yield a more realistic sense of how Rubinstein's fabled tone projects and congeals in the venue (New York's Manhattan Center), along with more air between the notes
Read more plus sundry bench and music-rack noises (Rubinstein's future producer Max Wilcox turning pages, I gather). While the aforementioned Rubinstein Edition CD appears to be mastered at a higher level, with slightly more emphasis in the bass, the SACD's overall ambience wins the day, even when reproduced on a conventional two-channel CD player.


In an era full of hotshot keyboard youngsters determined to put their individual stamp on Chopin's Ballades and Scherzos by way of willful rubatos and contrived inner voices, Rubinstein's respect for the score, controlled freedom, and unerring sense of proportion prove how sanity and inspiration are not mutually exclusive interpretive properties. A few examples will suffice. For instance, when the pianist lingers over the First Ballade's E-flat major subject, he still provides a strong rhythmic backbone in the left-hand accompaniment to anchor it. Many pianists blur the Second Scherzo's famous opening triplets; instead Rubinstein articulates them without compromising their spookiness. While his earlier Third and Fourth Scherzo recordings from 1932 and 1950 may dare and scintillate more, the slower stereo remakes better cohere and flow. Will further Rubinstein SACD releases capture the pianist's generous artistic presence so vividly? [10/13/2004]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Ballade for Piano no 1 in G minor, B 66/Op. 23 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1835 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, NYC 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
2.
Ballade for Piano no 2 in F major/a minor, B 102/Op. 38 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, NYC 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
3.
Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, NYC 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
4.
Ballade for Piano no 4 in F minor, B 146/Op. 52 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, NYC 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
5.
Scherzo for Piano no 1 in B minor, B 65/Op. 20 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1832; Poland 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, NYC 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
6.
Scherzo for Piano no 2 in B flat minor/D flat major, B 111/Op. 31 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, NYC 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
7.
Scherzo for Piano no 3 in C sharp minor, B 125/Op. 39 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Mallorca (Majorca),  
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, NYC 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
8.
Scherzo for Piano no 4 in E major, B 148/Op. 54 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, NYC 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Rubinstein has the touch for Chopin August 18, 2013 By Robert Abbott (Louisville, KY) See All My Reviews "This SACD remake of Rubinstein's 1959 recording in Living Stereo has preserved the dynamics and relatively close miking of the original recording. I enjoy it on my Marantz SACD player and HiFiMan headphones. It does not quite have the presence of the SACD remake of the Chopin Concerto #1 1961 recording. But it is Classic Chopin." Report Abuse
 As Good As It Gets December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "Rubinstein was in his prime when these versions of the Chopin Ballades and Scherzos were recorded in 1959. Curiously, although this was his third version of the Scherzos, he had never before recorded the Ballades. Rubinstein was temperamentally well suited to these works, moreso than in the Mazurkas and Preludes. The narrative aspect of the Ballades suited his intuitive sense of structure well. At this point in his career, Rubinstein had known these pieces for six decades. It is no wonder, therefore, that he performs them more convincingly than, say, Kissin does on his recent recording. The Scherzos are outright virtuoso works. Rubinstein would occasionally perform all four in concert, back-to-back. Any other pianist would have been exhasted by the effort. Not Rubinstein, who posessed a seemingly inexaustable reserve of energy. The pianist is just as on top of these pieces, technically, as any of his colleagues, and much more attuned to them musically. The sound, made from original three channel tapes produced by RCA's legendary Jack Pfeiffer, is spectacular in this new SACD edition--sounding every bit as lifelike as the best of today's digital recordings. This is the one to get!" Report Abuse
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