10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Frederic Chopin, 1810-1849, Polish.
"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art". (Frederic Chopin).
This Naxos CD is aimed at the beginner or occasional classical music listener and aims to provide a cross section of the entire works of Chopin on a single CD of around one hour duration. It's difficult of course to achieve a satisfactory representation of a composer's lifetime achievements in such short time, but this CD does achieve its aim in that it offers an affordable introduction to Chopin which may enable the listener to either pursue these works further, or simply to collect the entire Naxos `Best Of' range.
If the intention is to collect the series it will provide a good, although slightly abbreviated, library of classical music. Those requiring further listening are helped by the sleeve notes which give recommended further listening (all Naxos label CD's of course!).
It should be noted that the Naxos 2CD `Very Best Of' releases offer slightly better value than the single CD versions in this `Best Of' series.
That said, this is a good introduction to classical music for those on a careful budget.
The complete Naxos `Best Of' series (those indicated* also have `Very Best Of' releases):
Bach*, Bartok, Beethoven*, Berlioz, Bizet, Brahms, Chopin*, Debussy*, Dvorak*, Elgar*, Faure, Gershwin, Glazunov, Grieg*, Handel*, Haydn, Liszt, Lutoslawski, Mendelsshon, Mozart*, Paganini, Prokofiev, Puccini*, Rachmaninov*, Ravel*, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rossini, Saint-Saens, Schubert, Schumann, Satie*, Shostakovich*, Sibelius*, Strauss (Johann) II*, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky*, Verdi*, Vivaldi*, Wagner, Weber.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2002
I would like to say something about the composer, then something about the artist and the Naxos label, for the beneift of those new to classical music.
Chopin was a musical genius of Mozartian abilities. For pianists, he was indeed as seminal a figure as Mozart, or Beethoven. He inspired Franz Liszt. he introduced pedalling techniques, melodies and keyboard technique that defined much of romantic piano music. And therein lies the crux of the matter. Chopin, sadly, composed for almost no other instrument. Had he composed just a couple of symphonies, maybe just one opera, perhaps we would not just talk of Mozart and Beethoven, but Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven. He was to Piano what Wagner was to opera. Maybe he would have composed music for these instruments later inlife, but sadly tuberculosis killed him aged only 39.
Secondly, about the artist, recording and label. There's alot of snobbery in classical music, and some would say that Idil Biret is somebody who churns out notes, whereas the musicianship of another famous Chopin pianist such as Murray Perahia may be less precise but carries the weight and emotion intended by the composer.
I have one thing to say to that - Garbage!
Idil Biret plays wonderfully. She gives interpretations (and I own several of her CDs) which are patently better than those made by more famous artists such as Daniel Barenboim. Compare her Chopin Nocturnes to his recently released recordings of the same pieces to see what I mean.
She has won a host of prizes for her playing, and was rated as the greatest young pianist ever by her mentor, Wilhelm Kempf. Kempf, (as well as being a member of the clergy!) is a pianist who is mentioned in the same breath as Horowitz, Brendel, Cziffra etc. if she is good enough for him, then she's good enough for me!
People who object to recordings like this actually object to the small price. The tradition in classical music is to shell out a small fortune to listen to Vladimir Ashkenazy et al., as a sort of status symbol, a sign of how devoted one is to quality and artistic musicianship. Don't get me wrong, these more famous artists deserve their place in the pantheon of "greats," but Naxos have really upset the apple cart, and got up some peoples' noses.
And when one listens to this, one can see why. Firstly, without Naxos, a player like
Biret, for whatever reason, might not have enjoyed the opportunity to record almost the entire Chopin repetoire.
Secondly, recording a pianist of her quality, then only charging this much for it is just not the done thing! She's worth at least a tenner, if not more!
The market for classical music is great at the moment, much of it due to naxos. traditional labels are having to rerelease their old recordings at knock down prices in order to match them. But I like naxos. They release new recordings, often using artists who, whilst talented, have not quite had the drive, energy or political skills to record for a big label. Without them the patent virtuosity of Idil Biret may have festered in some academic post in a conservatory somewhere, instead of flourishing in the recoding studio, doing what she does best - play Chopin.
Enjoy it.....I did.