Alexander Brailowsky (1896-1976) first caught my attention in 1952. An avid collector, the three artists whose recordings (LP's) I mostly searched for were Artur Rubinstein (1887-1982), Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989) and Claudio Arrau (1903-1989). The "rivalry" was great and every release by these artists was fascinating indeed. In the spring of 1958, I noticed in the display window of a music store an item of great interest - a 2 LP set by Alexander Brailowsky playing the 19 Chopin Nocturnes. I entered the store ready to purchase this set, when to my dismay I learned that they had already been sold. The store manager offered to order them for me and I accepted. Having waited for a few months, I was notified by the store that the set was no longer available. It was not until 1996 that I was able to purchase 8 of the Nocturnes from this recording (the other 11 have not yet been released on CD). Listening to these Nocturnes and other performances of Chopin on these 2 CD's...
I had the fortune of hearing a radio broadcast recently on rather obscure pianists playing famous works which included Brailowsky's interpretation of Nocturnes No's 2, Op. 9 and 2, Op. 15. I've been hooked since then. There is something so beautiful in the subtleties of phrasing in Brailowsky's playing which, to me, puts him above such contemporaries as Rubenstein and Horowitz and the later Ashkenazy. There's no getting ahead of himself, no stumbling--every single note is there and tastefully articulated. It just doesn't get much better than this.
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