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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth its weight in gold, and then some...definitive perfection...
Being an avid fan of Chopin's piano concertos, I own about 20 or so different versions, and this one is a rather recent jewel of a find...as another reviewer said "almost too perfect", but I'd like to add it really IS perfect in many ways. Not only is the sound quality excellent, the music itself is so beautifully performed, with the subjective "right" balance between...
Published on 9 Feb 2007 by C. R. Soo

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
This was a recording I remember wating for- of which i heard lots of praise. And when i finally got hold of it, i rushed to buy it. I remember well, how i heard people talking about it (it was released on the 150th anniversary of Chopins death). How it would be "something quite special". Something "extraordinary". And, in a way it IS special- not just the way i quite...
Published on 21 Jan 2010 by abidoful


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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth its weight in gold, and then some...definitive perfection..., 9 Feb 2007
By 
C. R. Soo (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Being an avid fan of Chopin's piano concertos, I own about 20 or so different versions, and this one is a rather recent jewel of a find...as another reviewer said "almost too perfect", but I'd like to add it really IS perfect in many ways. Not only is the sound quality excellent, the music itself is so beautifully performed, with the subjective "right" balance between the orchestra and pianist (Zimerman outdoes himself here, really). But the most important being that Zimerman is so in tune with the emotions of the concertos, its cadences are remarkably sharp when needed, remarkably sad when needed. It's absolute perfection.

If you want just one version, this should be it. I'm not a musical expert, just a very serious musical fan, and to me, this is without a doubt, the perfect "definitive" recording of Chopin's exquisite concertos.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my humble opinion, definitive., 8 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
I was lucky enough to see this particular combination of Zimmerman and his specially formed orchestra live at Birmingham's Symphony Hall, and was exceedingly impressed, and have been no less so by this recording. He brought so many new qualities to 2 pieces which I already new well, and made me look at them in a completely different way. The E minor is my particular favorite, so I will cover that in my review. I can see how some would see his phrasing and use of rubato as being a little too much, particularly in the 2nd mvt and the more expressive parts of the 1st, but as far as I am concerned, it merely adds another dimension to this already sublime piece of music. And his enthusiastic and joyful approach to the krakoviak rondo transforms it from a standard rumbustuous finale into something that provides a complete contrast to the first 2 mvts, and is a fitting end to a wonderful interpretation of this piece, a result that one feels must be aided by the shared Polish origins of Chopin and this soloist-and-ensemble team. All in all, quite fantstic, and very individual.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best interpretation ever, 30 Oct 2008
This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
I have gone through all available different interpretations of these wonderful concertos, spending days to find the best. This one is by far the best. Too many other interprets sadly limit themselves to a technical play (the faster, the better) and see this as the ultimate challenge. Not so Krystian Zimerman! Beside technical perfection, he gets so much emotion and fine tension out of the concertos, it gives them another dimension. This is music! It is incredibly beautiful and fascinating to listen to, and you just wish it would never end...
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 21 Jan 2010
This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
This was a recording I remember wating for- of which i heard lots of praise. And when i finally got hold of it, i rushed to buy it. I remember well, how i heard people talking about it (it was released on the 150th anniversary of Chopins death). How it would be "something quite special". Something "extraordinary". And, in a way it IS special- not just the way i quite hoped.

It is queer, strange!It leaves many questions behind. Such as; is THIS really the definite intrepetation of these concertos!?! And still, it HAS so many values! I was left irritated; thankful and charmed at one side,and on the other, irritated, frustrated. Even somewhat--- angry!

Among the wonderful things are those many delicate details which Zimerman and his musicians reveal us.Those small little subleties which lay in the score and have previously been left ignored by many. These include many touches in the orchestration in the final movement of the earlier, f-minor one. Here Zimerman and his orchestra have a new refreshing look of the interplay between the soloist and ensemble in the first part of the movement. And in the middlle part we arrive- in my opinion- to the best part of these recordings. I have never heard it so robustly, yet charmingly executed, the bourdon fifths in the cellos which start this section, sounded really terrific! And in the continuation Zimerman and his ensemble reveal Chopins delicious scoring for the french horn, and later for the first violins which are playing "wrong" grace notes properly at downbeat!There are many such similar subleties to be found. In the first movement of the e-minor concerto they play few previously omitted bars from the final tutti(nevertheless i must say i did not find these bars in my full orchestral score, edited by Paderewski. Maybe Zimerman has another source...).

Nevertheless, they dont follow these features consistently through. We are still left by many passages that unfortunately dont get much attention. One of them is the development section of the e-minor concerto, which is simply disappointing. Here Chopin allows the thematic development wander through the whole orchestra, from instrument to instrument, and
well,THAT definately would have been a passage one was hoping to hear! And they just simply overkooked it... All you can hear, is the pianist playing the passagework! A much more better job has been done here by the young Argerich with Abbado in their early recording, which is the most gratifying rendering of this passage up to date.What is also questionable, is their treatment of the tuttis. The first tutti of the e-minor concerto has no "risoluto" or "maestoso" in it (specificly indicated by the composer),but all the more of a feeling of a languid romance- or a "chanson"!

Also, i would call the excessive use of glissandi as upright "cheesy"; what are they aiming by all of this!? It is all "different" to be sure, but also very questionable...!So in the end, i find these intrepetations many ways unconformable. On the one hand we HAVE some wonderful reading of some of the ensembles, but on the other, many of them have been- as i said- overlooked. Moreover, their handling of the tempis is similarly baffling. Especially their numerous ritartandis which are heavily overemphasised; they sound little pretentious.Zimerman IS one of the great pianists of our time. He has made, for instance a wonderful recording of the violin sonatas by R.Strauss and Ottorini Respighi with Kyung Wa Chung, and here in these concertos his playing is very polished. To an excess. As a result being emotionally cool.

Would I recommend these renderings of these concertos by Zimerman and his Polish Festival Orchestra? Well- if you are a total "Chopin fanatic"- perhaps i would, since they shed light to SOME of the delicious features of these early masterworks. And they do contain much excellent playing by Zimerman and his ensemble. But- since they also contain much that is troublesome-i would advise you to turn to a classic recording by Gilels/Ormandy, a recording made by the young Martha Argerich (with Claudio Abbado- of the e-minor) and one by Murray Perahia (with Zubin Mehta) of both of them.

In a way, this recording remains a curiosity, by a famous pianist here mislead!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost too perfect., 7 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
This recording is perfect. It's actually almost too perfect. Every phrase seems to have been examined and polished with such care that an element of spontaneous creativity (ala Argerich) is missing. It is as if Dr.Zimerman has taken a scalpel to these concertos, taken them to pieces, and put them all back together again. The piece is dead, but Zimerman knows everything about it. Having said that, one can only marvel at the playing of the select polish orchestra and Zimerman himself. Perhaps this is how the music would have sounded to Chopin in his head, but I doubt he would have played it in the same way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Listening, 24 Nov 2009
By 
I. A. Abbott - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
I had only recently heard Chopin's Concerto No 1 in a BBC Radio 3 broadcast and badly wanted to hear it again.I am truly thrilled with this recording. The verve and delicacy of the piano and the contrast and body provided by the orchestra make this quite addictive but I do not intend to make it so familiar that I loose the magic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chopin Concertos, 18 Mar 2012
This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Really bought this for the Second Piano concerto after hearing it at a marvellous Valentines concert by the Sussex Symphony Orchestra at St Bart's Church, Brighton but the First is growing on me with every listen of this superb CD.
I'm not an audio geek but I can hear that the instruments have been brilliantly recorded and stand out in their own right.
Zimerman sensitively draws out so much from the music and the Polish orchestra is wonderfully sympathetic to his playing.
I note some of the criticisms of this CD from people with more technical knowledge than myself.
All I can say is it is the best few quid I have ever spent on a classical CD and I get so much pleasure every time I play it; which is often.
I can also recommend Sabine Meyer's stunning Mozart Clarinet Concerto played on the lower register basset clarinet; a truly great recording coupled with a wonderful Sinfonia concertante.
Oh yes, and the service from Amazon was superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chopin Concertos, 27 Mar 2010
By 
Mr. Ronald Harbach (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Excellent performance and recording. I presented the Chopin Piano Concerto No 1 at a recent Music Society meeting and everyone was thrilled.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way Chopin should be played., 23 July 2009
By 
W. Lozinska "Wanda" (Stroud, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
This is a most beautiful and sensitive performance; I'm certain that (contrary to a previous reviewer) this is the way Chopin would have wished his only two concertos to be played.

I was fortunate to visit the Lazienki Park in Warsaw, which has a monument dedicated to Chopin, surrounded by a huge bed of red roses, depicting him under a tree. My Polish cousin told me that Chopin got much of his inspiration from nature. So, as we all know, Chopin was very much a romantic, and this comes across in his music, particularly in these concertos, written when he was very much in love.

In my opinion, Krystian Zimerman has managed to get these sentiments across to us listeners with his lovely interpretation of two of the most romantic piano concertos ever written. A wonderful achievement. I also think the fact that he is a Polish National gives him an extra insight into the composer's mind.

Amazingly, the first time I heard these concertos, as played by another artist, I didn't even like them! So, this has shown me how crucial the interpretation actually is. If you only own one version, this should definitely be it!

I also like Zimerman's interpretation of the Grieg Piano Concerto, with Karajan and the BPO. Greig and Schumann Piano Concertos. Both CDs highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best, 21 Dec 2012
By 
John Davison - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Of course I don't really know if it is "the best", but I do know that I have trawled through various interpretations on youtube and found nothing to match this.

Zimerman gives us a different creation - quite literally, since the sublime second theme of no 2/II is played with a dotted rhythm at the end of the phrase, whilst other performers play it without. I don't know who is "correct" but I do know that Zimerman's version is "right".

Muscular playing in the fast movements, ravishing caressing of the phrases in the slow, and his direction of the orchestra is wonderful.

I just love it.
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Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 by Frederic Chopin (Audio CD - 1999)
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