This 15-disc set, recorded from 1990 to 1992, is a truly complete survey of Chopin's piano music, including juvenilia and the works for piano and orchestra. It may not be quite the triumph of Biret's Brahms set, in which the performances are competitive with the best to be heard anywhere. But all of this playing is thoroughly worthy of the music, and Biret's technique is strong enough to deal with such hurdles as the Études and Scherzi without flinching. Her style is a bit more straightforward than that of the most famous Chopin poets (such as Rubinstein and Cortot), making these recordings a particularly good bet for students and listeners who are first learning to love Chopin. One can often come up with a (more expensive) recording that expresses even more of the poetry of the music than Biret does: Moravec's Nocturnes, Rubinstein's Mazurkas, Zayas's Études, and so on. And occasionally some of the lesser-known music (such as the First Sonata) might be better skipped except by scholars and curious listeners who want to know why these pieces are so obscure. But finding 15 well-filled CDs of such great music, in such excellent performances, so well recorded, for such an absurdly low price becomes an irresistible bargain. Even connoisseurs who know the great Chopin recordings of the past may well find these recordings a refreshing alternate view of the music. --Leslie Gerber
NR (Not Rated)
Naxos Box Sets
Naxos Box Sets
Naxos Box Sets
Naxos Box Sets
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Idil biret's Chopin recordings first released in 1991/92 received very favourable reviews. The eminent musicologist Henry Louis de La Grange wrote in Le Nouvel Observateur in France "Idil Biret, this great pianist is playing Chopin in its entirety in a breathtaking interpretation. One could not imagine that the Ballades, Preludes, Sonatas, Scherzi, Polonaises,Nocturnes, Mazurkas and the Concertos would today find and interpreter of this dimension". Germany's most important music critic Joachim Kaiser writing in the Bunte Magazine put Biret's interpretation of Chopin among the best available versions. In the US, Igor Kipnis wrote in Stereophile that Biret's complete Chopin edition stood among the highest echelons of contemporary Chopin playing. The readers of the Classic CD magazine in the United Kingdom selected Biret's Chopin preludes among the best recordings of 1993. In 1995 Biret's complete editon received in Poland a "Grand Prix du Disque Frederic...
No-one with the slightest interest in Chopin should miss Idil Birets recordings of his complete works. There are a few minor disappointments (notably the Waltzes and the Concertos), but most of these interpretations rank with the finest available, and Biret plays with a freshness of approach that sheds new light on this wonderful music. Even those who think they live happily with Pollini, Ashkenazy etc., should check this out. You might be surprised! The piano-sound is slightly to the bright and thin side, but enjoyable enough.
Ms. Gerber sums it up very well above: the playing is not what you'd find from Rubinstein, Cortot, or Ashkenazy, but it is still better than many recordings out there, and is a tremendous bargain.
Chopin only wrote one piece in his entire life that didn't include the piano, so a collection this complete of his piano music is a fascinating look into Chopin's creative life, and as a study in music history, it is worth the time. Nevertheless, people who are searching out definitive performances of more familiar works should probably search elsewhere.
Now, I am not a professional music critic, and I would never say that you should trust me over the critics. In fact, much of the acclaim this set receives is merited. Her first and fourth ballades are fine performances, and the scherzi and polonaise in A flat are well executed. That being said, I personally found several other performances to be large disappointments. (For the record, her recording was not...
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