Rubinstein recorded the Chopin Concertos numerous times. This version of Chopin's first Concerto is the most successful of Rubinstein's several versions, partly thanks to the sensitive accompaniment of the New London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. Tempos are well-judged, phrasing is supple and natural, virtuosity is there, but not for its own sake. The sound on the original LP and the first CD issue, was plagued by dropouts at the beginning of the Concerto--these have been smoothed over remarkably, but not entirely eliminated. Balance between orchestra and piano has also been improved.
The Second Concerto is somewhat less successful. Here, Rubinstein is partnered by Alfred Wallenstein, his favored accompanist during the 1950s and early 1960s. Wallenstein secures reasonable playing from the Symphony of the Air, then long past its earlier glory as the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Rubinstein's playing is fine, but the overall enjoyment of the performance is hampered by the sonic picture, which remains synthetic and dryish--despite the best efforts of the remastering team. Purists should be warned that, at Rubinstein's insistence, the violins do not play "con legno" as Chopin indicated.
The Three New Etudes, recorded in 1962, are similar to - if less fleet fingered than - Rubinstein's earlier stereo version from 1958.