With so many first-rate recorded performances of varying vintages and in different price-ranges did we need another recording? Emphatically yes, if it’s as good as this new Linn CD.
Ingrid Fliter has already made quite a reputation as an interpreter of Chopin’s solo piano music for EMI. Now she turns to the youthful concertos and makes an auspicious debut with a different label. There’s plenty of bravura and power in the outer movements without any sense of showing off and there’s poetry in the slow movements, even if the Romance of No. 1 is taken noticeably faster than by Rubinstein on either of the RCA recordings, though at almost exactly the sameRead more pace as by Argerich. The Larghetto of No. 2, on the other hand, is rather slower than from Rubinstein without sounding drawn out.
Look at the adjectives and nouns that Michael Cookson uses in his review of Fliter’s recording of the Waltzes and you’ll find them all equally appropriate to various aspects of these concertos: glittering, feather-light and fleet-footed, playful, yearning and sorrow.
Do I still plan to listen to Rubinstein and to Pollini in No. 1? Does Argerich find a little more magic in both concertos? Is Stefan Askenase with Leopold Ludwig (Beulah 3-5BX172, rec. 1960 - see DL News 2013/9) a little dreamier in No. 2? Yes, but that’s only because I listened to them in direct comparison with the new Fliter recording. Hear them all on their own without comparison and they are equally convincing.
The recording is a good deal firmer and more credible, especially in the lower frequencies, than the RCA Rubinstein, even in its re-mastered form. I thought the balance between soloist and orchestra almost ideal, so I was surprised as I was closing this review to see a suggestion that the piano is balanced too far forward. Thinking that I had, perhaps, been unduly influenced by listening to the Rubinstein first, where the piano certainly is forward in RCA’s house style of the 1960s, I listened again and still thought the balance credible. Certainly the soloist is the centre of attention but that’s Chopin’s fault, if fault there be.
Perfomance+Sound=SuperbNovember 25, 2014By Bruce B. (Norfolk, VA)See All My Reviews"I have quite a number of performances of these concertos stretching back to the late 60's on vinyl. I was intrigued by the glowing reviews of this CD especially in Gramophone so I purchased it. After listening multiple times to the performances, I am in agreement with the professional critiques. Great interpretations accompanied by terrific SACD sound (please industry, continue to offer more SACD's!). The performance is up there with my best picks from the last 40 years."Report Abuse
Amazing interpretation of Chopins Piano ConcertoJune 30, 2014By Warren Harris See All My Reviews"This recording, which is a total and complete audio delight, consists of Chopins 1st and 2nd Piano Concertos. Right from the get-go it is apparent that the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Jun Markl, is ready to bring depth and feeling to the music about to be played and boy, do they deliver, which makes for a wonderful partnership with Ms. Fliter, as her playing is exceptional. Her touch is light and strong, feeling and pensive, manic and directed, and all of the other incredible human things that make Chopins music so very special. The first movement of Piano Concerto No. 1 immediately grabs the listener, and it is clear that amazing things are coming, and they do. Particularly noteworthy is the 2nd movement which is gentile and purposeful and sophisticatedly sensitive all at the same time. It was frighteningly easy for this listener to forget how difficult this music is to play and just lose oneself in the emotional experience. Unbelievable how wonderful this is. The 3rd movement starts with strong aggressive strings before giving way to Ms. Fliters expressive piano. The Orchestra and Ms. Fliter compliment and reinforce each other in a way seldom experienced, and it is a real treat to hear it in a recording of this caliber. Piano Concerto No. 2 is no less captivating, starting with gentile enticing strings and quickly moving to more directed and emotional music that sets the stage for the somewhat isolated piano character to come in which not only echos the string theme presented, but also provides emotional context for the introspective and majestic journey that is underway. Ms. Fliter outdoes herself in the 2nd movement both in the sensitivity of her touch and the gentility with which she takes hold of the listeners heart and carries it through a range of introspective emotional states. And then the strings come in urgently and the pianistic organism responds promptly before returning to gentile, stirring, expressionism. The give and take here is breathtaking, and this movement is worth the price of the CD alone its soooooooo good. The 3rd movement closes the work in a directed and gently strident fashion that is filled with virtuosic passages that are no less emotionally capturing despite their difficulty (which seems effortless for Ms. Fliter), and ends full of good spirit and joy. Again, it is unbelievable how good this is. The liner notes are well written and informative, but even if they were sparse this recording would be worth having in any event. However, the entire work, from recording quality to CD to liner notes is delightful from start to finish. Would that all recordings and performances were of this quality and as captivating. This is amazing music, performed in a sensitive, thoughtful, and provocative way, and I very highly recommend it!"Report Abuse