Garrick Ohlsson, piano - Leila Josefowicz, violon - Carter Brey, violoncelle - Elizabeth Man, flûte - Ewa Podles, contralto - Orchestre Philharmonique de Varsovie - Kazimierz Kord, direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Few pianists have produced complete surveys of the works of Frederic Chopin, so Garrick Ohlsson’s traversal is an important one. Since I initially trained as a pianist, Chopin has always been dear to my heart. I have seldom heard pianists who play it well. The best has been Nelson Freire in his sublime performance of the Nocturnes.
Ohlsson begins his long traversal with Chopin’s three sonatas. I was immediately struck with the precision of Ohlsson’s playing. It is stunning. His tone in piano or pianissimo sections is rather lovely. The relatively close listening perspective, however, does not benefit him, because in forte passages it reminds you that the piano is considered a percussion instrument. I never like that. Notwithstanding the somewhat hard sound, Ohlsson’s gifts with the keyboard are extraordinary. Listen to the Marche Funebre of the second sonata that contains one of the most exquisite long crescendos and subsequent decrescendos...
Garrick Ohlsson recorded this complete cycle of all of Chopin's works for Arabesque Records years ago, and they were "lost" to us when Arabesque dropped out of the classical oeuvre basically and became a Jazz label in the nineties.
Now, in this Chopin Year, Hyperion has picked up the rights to these marvelous recordings and has re-issued them for us, in a new boxed set. I had forgotten how wonderful these traversals of these works were, (I had many of them on LP).
Hyperion is also re-releasing some items of this set as individual discs, but, truly, for the Chopin afficiando, this is the only way to go, here, complete.
If you shop around, like I did, you can get this set for approximately $50 which is an enormous saving from its nearly $200 price tag.
The sound is clean, clear, crisp, with great presence on the majority of these discs, with a few of them sounding somewhat cloudy, but not enough to take the bloom of these marvelous...
Chopin is considered one of the finest composers in history for a reason; his music has a certain melancholy that resonates, without becoming depressing and forlorn to the point of misery or hopelessness. For those inclined, it speaks deeply about the human condition and gives a great deal of reason for reflection. Ohlsson leaves you wondering how one could possibly present Chopin with more passion, beauty, and precision. Outstanding in every sense of the word. I'll repeat what many reviewers have already said: this truly is the ultimate Chopin collection. Not only does the set truly encompass the works of Chopin, Ohlsson gives an absolutely masterful presentation while lending a continuity that makes it simply irresistible. I've spent many many hours reading and/or thinking with this set in the background and my subconscious, or just listening for the sake of appreciating it at face value. I can honestly say that this compilation has a permanent place in the short list of my most...
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