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Chopin - Piano Concertos - Zimerman - Giulini

Carlo Maria Giulini Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 29.99
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An acclaimed and versatile conductor, Carlo Maria Giulini started his musical studies as a violinist, attending the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. He studied conducting with Bernardino Molinari at Santa Cecilia and Alfredo Casella at Accademia Chigiana in Siena. After graduation, he joined the Augusteo Orchestra in Rome as a violist. As an orchestral musician, he came in contact with the ... Read more in Amazon's Carlo Maria Giulini Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001G73
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,917 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Abert
Format:Audio CD
After DG issued in 1999 the dual-CD of Chopin's two piano concerti with Zimerman conducting from the keyboard, this earlier release featuring the LA Philharmonic Orchestra with Giulini conducting has largely been forgotten, and have sadly gone out of print.
Too bad, since of the two recordings by Krystian Zimerman of the Chopin concerti for piano, this earlier one in 1986 is the one of my personal preference.
Firstly, I think for a pianist to be able to record both of Chopin's piano concerti with 'equal' distinction is some thing of a real marvel. Not many top pianists managed to succeed in this respect. Either they are more adept in the No. 1 (in fact the No. 2), or they offer a better No. 2 (in fact No. 1). Many 'popular' young pianists have tried their hands on a dual-concerti set in recent years: Lang Lang, Sa Chen, Rafal Blechacz, and the not too young Dang Thai Son on period instruments.
While I marvel at Mr. Dang's No. 2 and Mr. Blechacz's No. 1, both these pianists do not have a very 'even-handed' treatment of the two pieces in the same way as Krystian Zimerman in this 1986 recording.
Zimerman was younger (less than 30) when he recorded this pair. This, to me at least, is a great asset over his later 1999 second recording. I in fact owned the latter set much earlier, but that set simply failed to ignite me with each repeated listening time after time in the same way this earlier set does.
I in fact started listening to this Giulini/Zimerman version early this year. And it immediately became clear to me why Zimerman, for many past decades, has been regarded as a 'top-Chopin' performer. Here, he had none of the heavy-handed approaches to Chopin as he has now. Instead, here is much more youthful passion and poetic verve that the second recording lacked. The No.
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Very good. But the later recording with Zimmermann playing and conducting is out of this world. I'd get that one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performances, preferable to Zimerman's new ones 29 Mar 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Zimerman's earlier performances are full of panache and authority remarkable for such a young pianist, or indeed for any pianist. These are a first choice. The recorded sound is excellent; the piano balance is a little, but not grossly, forward, but I find this fully acceptable in the Chopin concertos. Those choosing between these earlier recordings and Zimerman's new ones with a hand-picked orchetra, also on Deutsche Grammophon, are urged to go for the older recordings with Giulini, because they have much more spontaneity and freshness. The new ones aren't bad, but Zimerman is often quite mannered. He also has the dubious distinction of being the first to require 2 discs for the Chopin piano concertos--every other coupling I've ever come across comfortably fits on one CD.
UPDATE: In Europe Deutsche Grammophon has already re-released this album as part of their Originals series (at mid-price isntead of the current release's full price). If you can hold on a bit, I would wait for that issue...contrary to what a reviewer below says, this recording is NOT digital (it is in very fine, if very late, analog), so the "Original Image Bit Processing" remastering for DG Originals may be a marginal improvement--not that this remastering is cause for complaint.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the First Choice 20 Feb 2000
By Christopher Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Like the Schumann concerto, the recordings of these two works of Chopin constitute a pretty crowded field. They seem to be a rite of passage for every pianist who wants to locate his or her repertoire in the nineteenth century and illustrate his or her technical prowess. Recorded in the late '70's, at the beginning of Zimerman's illustrious and still-thriving career, I think these two still stand above all others (even Zimerman's latest where he conducts from the keyboard). Zimerman has so much power and technique to burn, that the grand conceptions of the first movements are effortlessly met; yet it is his ability to communicate the pathos and lyrical melancholy of the slow movements without over-sentimentalization that makes these recordings so special. Giulini has the orchestra stand back from Zimerman's playing, as he should, since both concertos are primarily showpieces for the pianist. As brilliant new virtuosi come and go over the next few decades, I really do think this recording will remain the standard for these very popular works, as they have been since they were released more than 20 years ago.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Recording of the Chopin Piano Concerti 28 Mar 2001
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Without a doubt, Zimerman's performances are a triumph of technique and style. I agree with a previous reviewer who noted Zimmerman's superb technique and lyrical playing. Zimmerman isn't quite as flashy as Argerich, yet he gives performances that are as emotionally stirring as hers, without forsaking technique. And I find that his technique is as flawless as Claudio Arrau's, yet Zimmerman plays more warmly than does the late Chilean master. Maybe it's fitting that a Polish pianist gives two of the finest performances of Chopin's main orchestral works, since Zimerman knows exactly when to change the volume of his warm, expressive playing. During his brief tenure with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carlo Maria Giulini transformed this underrated American orchestra into a world-class ensemble capable of playing as well as its peers in Berlin and Vienna. Here both he and the orchestra are sympathetic accompanists to Zimmerman's exceptional playing, recognizing that Chopin regarded both works as masterpieces for virtuoso pianists such as himself. This is among Deutsche Grammophon's best engineered recordings of the early digital era. Of all the versions of Chopin's concerti available, this is the one that belongs in your collection.

(EDITORIAL NOTE 10/4/10: While I acknowledge Santa Fe Listener's extensive knowledge of music, I have to wonder why he would devote so much time critiquing reviews I wrote a decade earlier. Clearly someone as eminent as him might be willing to forgive my own foibles, especially since he's become a stalwart champion of a rather peculiar freak of nature, the Chinese pianist Lang Lang, whose technical skills at the piano aren't matched by his interpretative skills. He is correct that Deustche Grammophon did "follow" Giulini, but it should be said that in a relatively brief period of time, Giulini did raise the orchestra's stature, setting the stage for its emergence as a notable American and international symphony orchestra under the baton of Salonen.)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding recording 3 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Zimerman's recordings of the Chopin concertos are classics. The orchestral playing has the sensitivity one has come to expect from Giulini; more importantly, the piano playing is fresh, youthful, and utterly sensitive. With good analog sound, this is one of the very best couplings available of the Chopin concertos
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zimerman, Giulini, DG and the LA Phil do Chopin 20 Feb 2014
By RLB - Published on Amazon.com
That Zimerman is an established central keyboard figure, a "long-haul" presence in keyboard classical music is well known. That he made ill-timed political remarks at a recent Disney concert did him no favors. That Zimerman has a reasonable discography is impressive. DG has retained his 35+ discs in their catalog to this day. Zimerman's high-profile DG recording contract is a once in a lifetime achievement for pianists. That DG rather OBVIOUSLY noticed the LA Phil is an ensemble to match the VPO or BPO any day is evidenced by DG coming over here to record the LA Phil over the years. Comparisons to Ashkenazy, Pollini, Gilels, Lang-Lang etc etc is only partially useful. What came about here, and does the disc fit in your collection, is the interpretive, orchestral and symphonic achievement of Zimerman collaborating with Giulini/LA Phil. Zimerman KNOWS how to play the native music of his fatherland. He understands the Polish lilt, spirit, and musical notation of Chopin. Giulini achieved gorgeous orchestral accomplishments with his tenure at LA Phil. So collectors owning this fabulous recording have the disc as a tribute and statement to a younger Zimerman, one of the great Conductors of our time, one of California's TOP Philharmonic ensembles. My enthusiam for the disc will never diminish.
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