This third Kissen Chopin recital to be issued certainly provides some exciting pianism. It is hard to imagine how ten fingers can be coordinated to produce the rippling effects in Prelude 3, the whirlwinds in Prelude 8, the headlong galloping in Prelude 16, and the terrifying swirl of sound in the Sonatas's finale. It is also hard to imagine how much one would need to pay in order to sit in such close proximity to the piano as it is recorded here. Never have I heard the three repeated notes at the bottom end of the keyboard sound as powerful as they do at the close of Prelude 24.
Chopin offers much more than opportunities for technical display, however, and few of these additional components are evident here. The tears below the surface of Prelude 4 are disregarded, the cantilena of Prelude 6 is more mechanical than vocal, and the Sonata's Scherzo is rushed rather than refined. Most successful is the Sonata's "Funeral March" - something I thought I never wanted to hear again. Perhaps the enforced slow tempo allows Chopin's voice to come through.
The engineers have captured the tension and excitement of Kissen's performances, but I am not sure that he has captured the essential refinement and eminently patrician qualities that typify Chopin's music.