This Warner Classics 5-CD box set was released in 2009 and consists of generally excellent recordings from the Erato, Teldec, and Warner back catalogues. The box is very good value-for-money and, although some of the artistes are perhaps less well-known than some in this repertoire, all of the recordings bear repeated listening.
CD1 has the first-class Chopin pianist Nikolai Lugansky playing the 24 Preludes Op.28. This is an extract from an Erato/Warner release from 2001 Chopin - Préludes; Ballades; Nocturnes
, which was well-reviewed on initial release. The CD also has Jean-Bernard Pommier playing the Fantasie in F minor, Op.49 and the Andante spianato & Grande Polonaise brilliante in E flat major. These were recorded by Erato in 1994 (Chopin - Piano Works
is the Warner Apex release that contains these and other pieces, too).
CD2 features Cyprien Katsaris in Chopin's Ballades 1-4 and Scherzos 1-4 in a 1984 Teldec release Chopin: Piano Works [IMPORT
], subsequently out on the super-budget Warner Apex label Chopin - Ballades and Scherzos
. Katsaris tackles these virtuoso works with aplomb.
CD3 was a 1996 Teldec release featuring the much-underrated Elisabeth Leonskaja playing Polonaises Chopin - Polonaises
. Leonskaja has more recently returned to Chopin for the Dabringhaus und Grimm (MDG) label; she is an excellent interpreter, in my view.
CD4 features the well-known Chopin specialist Maria Joao Pires in one of her earlier recitals of Waltzes. This was an Erato discChopin - Waltzes
, released in 1985. The end of CD4 and the beginning of CD5 contain the Cello Sonata OP.65, the Grand Duo, and Chopin's Op.3, the not so important Introduction & Polonaise brilliante. These are Erato recordings from 1981, featuring the always interesting pianist Francois-Rene Duchable and cellist Frederic Lodeon; I don't believe that these recordings have been on CD before.
The rest of CD5 contains Chopin's songs Op.74 with Teresa Zylis-Gara (Soprano) and Halina Czerny-Stefanska (piano);Chopin: Melodies/Songs Op.74
would appear to be the first release.
This inexpensive Warner box gives you a good cross-section of his work in very good to excellent performances; there are brief notes from Jessica Duchen, and the sound quality is first-class throughout. Recommended.