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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly gorgeous performances!!, 23 Nov 2008
By 
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Saint-Saens: Concerto No. 2 / Franck: Symphonic Variations / Liszt: Concerto No. 1 (Audio CD)
These incredibly sublime recordings deserve 10 stars! Sound quality is incredible too, it sounds far better and natural than today's digital recording. The presence of sound is simply amazing!

Rubinstein's playing is in class of its own; exquisitely delicate, nobly poised, dazzling and at times awe-inspiring. A must buy for any serious collecters!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional disc, 10 Oct 2011
By 
Mr. J. Lazzerini "Jonathan" (Quimper, France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Saint-Saens: Concerto No. 2 / Franck: Symphonic Variations / Liszt: Concerto No. 1 (Audio CD)
I am amazed by the brilliance of Rubinstein's playing, it's absolutely scintillating. I've never heard performances of these 2 piano concertos as lively as these. Part of this may be due to the recording set-up and techniques, but this does not lessen the achievement of the performer.

Arthur Rubinstein was well qualified particularly to play the Saint-Saens concerto, having lived in Paris and having known the composer. His romantic temperament and style of playing was well suited to this musical period (late 19th/early 20th century).

The 1950's sound reproduction is almost magical, and astounding for its age, as with most of the Living Stereo SACD's. The recording was made in 3 channels, but the stereo layer does not have a noticable 'hole in the middle' effect, and the piano is well prominent and not lost amongst the orchestra.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want a Rubinstein highlights disc, this may well be it, 28 Mar 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Saint-Saens: Concerto No. 2 / Franck: Symphonic Variations / Liszt: Concerto No. 1 (Audio CD)
This disc, recorded in 1956 and 1958, is yet another example of the excellence of this series of SACD remastering from a technical point of view. As regards the musical point of view, this is Rubinstein playing very much on musical home ground and he doesn't disappoint.

Rubinstein's performances of Chopin are famously well known and respected. Not everything he did was in the same category of instinctive sympathy and can be the subject of controversy. His Brahms and Beethoven spring to mind. However, his performances of the Saint Saens second concerto and the Franck Variations were of an equal fame and quality to match his Chopin. Both of these works illustrate a cool Gallic perfection that is totally stylish and appropriate. Technically he was also on top form for this recording and he is well supported by Wallenstein and the orchestra. The recording has lost all traces of the woodenness that was apparent in earlier masterings.

The Liszt concerto also suits him well and he is able to convey the throw-away brilliance and humour of the writing in much the same way. As none of this music is emotionally demanding, compared to Brahms for example, such a lightweight and joyful approach is totally satisfying on both a musical and an entertainment level. Indeed a more emotionally involved approach would run counter to the nature of all three pieces.

This is a very successful disc and would serve well as a demonstration of Rubinstein's art away from the well trodden paths of his Chopin performances.

To conclude, I would suggest that if the program is attractive, then this disc deserves to be considered seriously as one of the best options to purchase.
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