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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 August 2011
It seems that Nelson Freire can effortlessly produce the most beguiling soft playing and this trait stands him in good stead for the Chopin Nocturnes. They're all beautifully sung, but occasionally they can sound a little bit soporific - Nocturnes they may be, but they contain some of Chopin's darkest and most personal music, and Freire doesn't explore that to the full, sometimes sounding a bit too comfortable. It doesn't detract from the beauty of the playing though - a very good recording, but not quite excellent.
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The blurb on the cover of this double CD features a quotation from the "New York Times" which endorses Freire's playing as "decorous" - an odd choice of compliment but it does in fact express exactly how I feel about and react to his wise, sensitive approach. Nothing is extreme or underlined; understatement is the order of the day - which is not to say that Freire is in any way bland - far from it - but he has evidently acquired over the decades of loving and playing this ethereal music a deep appreciation of its dreamy profundities and sees no need to play to the gallery.

Nonetheless, as much as I admire his interpretations, I want just a little more overt emotionalism in this music; some might call my taste vulgar, but I respond more readily to the freer, broader interpretations he gave us in the mid 70s and still more to the generous use of rubato and unbuttoned Romanticism of Tamás Vásáry (see my review of his bargain Nocturnes excerpts on DG). "How Chopin should go" is a debate which elicits very opinionated reactions and we all have our ideas. Perhaps I undervalue his subtlety, but as much as I admire Freire's restraint and serenity, I prefer greater variety in dynamics and tempi.
22 comments14 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 October 2013
I like the sound of the Steinway in this recording. It's not too bright, which suits well the intimate atmosphere of these pieces. The sound is quite different from the Steinway heard in many of Ashkeanzy's recordings in the 70s (also by Decca), which is beginning to sound coarse to me.

20 Nocturnes are recorded here; that's all the Nocturnes attributed to Chopin except the posthumous one in C minor. I know there are doubts about whether it was really by Chopin. However, bearing in mind that the now authoritative Polish National Edition has included it in the Complete Works of Chopin, it was a shame that Freire chose not to record it for completeness sake.
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on 22 June 2014
My third set of Chopin Nocturnes (to add to Vladimir Ashkenazy & Maria Joao Pires) and now perhaps my favourite.
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on 4 May 2010
I really love Freire's Chopin. No mannerisms, no over romantic but no lack of emotions.
If you are looking for a near-definitive recording of these pieces, look no further!!!

BRAVO MAESTRO!!!!
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on 17 July 2010
Worthy of all the good reviews it has recieved in the press-everything in its place and played quite beatifully!A gem!
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on 4 November 2010
Nelson, a fantastic pianist, delivers a deceptive performance in a poor quality recording (particularly on cd 1)
33 comments5 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 September 2010
This is a superb recording! Nelson Freire was known before for the partnership with Martha Argerich but now he is on his own. You should listen to the Brahms Concertos and The Chopin Second Sonata recordings. I'm happy that we, here in Brazil, have recently less opportunities to see his recital and concertos live because of his international carrear. We're very proud of his success.
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on 10 January 2011
Nelson is a master of the panio of Chopin. it is beautiful music to listen to and wonder how many hours he has to practise to be a master of the panio.
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