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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master, 15 April 2011
This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
I bought this set because it is the CD replacement for the wonderful RCA multi-LP box I acquired many years ago. The transfers are excellent. I don't need to extol the virtues of Arthur Rubinstein as a Chopin interpreter - just listen, if possible, to his Barcarolle or Berceuse, then come back down to earth and buy this bargain set!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gloriously played, 11 Oct. 2011
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C. Roberts (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
I bought the RCA vinyl box set years ago and most, if not all, of these recordings were included in it. For my taste, they are Chopin as he should be played; clearly articulated, subtle and restrained rubato, powerful and exhilarating climaxes, and moments of deep tenderness and tranquility. The recordings are adequate, less metallic than the vinyl sounded, and I've just bought a second set of this to give to a colleague who is retiring. This is a set every Chopin lover should hear. They are as near perfection as I ever expect to hear.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An improved remastering at 24 bits - the best yet, 20 May 2013
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I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
This set caused me some doubts as one reviewer has stated that the mastering of this set is exactly the same as the late 1990's mastering so if you have the previous copies, which I do, then it would be a waste of money to buy this set.

Regardless, and tempted by the 24 bit processing stated on the rear of the box, I decided to take a chance. I have compared every disc with the previous mastering, one by one and doing an A/B comparison, and there is absolutely no doubt that this set is superior. The tonal range is warmer and far more believable and the slight woodenness of piano timbre which was still apparent on the last mastering has now been removed. The somewhat dry acoustic remains which makes the recordings sound as if they were made in a small and well-upholstered room. This could well reflect Chopin's actual original playing circumstances in many cases of course so can be acceptable on that basis.

Much may depend on the replay equipment of course and in that regard I have three ranges of equipment at different levels of fanaticism. All reveal the improvement with the best equipment showing the most improvement.

As regards the performances, I have supplied full reviews elsewhere but can summarise these readings as follows:
Rubinstein's view of these works can generally be described as coolly dispassionate and he can be very tough in this regard. This is all to the good as in this way we get to hear what Chopin wrote without the distracting effects of superimposed emotional interpretations. A great deal of the writing is surprisingly discordant and it is impossible to avoid being aware that Chopin was, if not unhappy, at least he could be described as suffering from disquiet on a significant number of occasions and this shows in his music.

Rubinstein makes this quite clear in his versions of the sonatas, the ballades, impromptus and scherzos for example. He is not the only one to take this view. Perahia can be uncompromising in these ways as can Ashkenazy, Pollini and Argerich for example. I choose these pianists simply because their views were strongly influential on discs as long as forty years ago and the softer, more emotional and salon approach to the music soon became unacceptable from then on. Perahia's version of the preludes came as quite a shock to me in its uncompromising emphasis of the discords when I first heard it in the 1970's and it changed my understanding of Chopin at that time. Other works such as the mazurkas and nocturnes are not so coloured.

I would suggest that this set by Rubinstein is valuable as a corrective to excessive emotionalism in this music and thus provides a good starting point from which other versions can be investigated. This is not the only way to play this music - no one pianist or musician can ever claim to have the 'only' answer to interpretation. Nevertheless this is a set of such importance that it should not be ignored.

At this price and in this new remastering, which I suspect is dated around 2010 when it was published in this boxed set, this represents amazing value. I personally find the disc of the preludes too old to be rewarding and the concertos are better played by other combinations of pianists, conductors and orchestras, but the rest are marvellously rewarding recordings from the stereo era.

............................................

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive performances, 9 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
This set replaces the old LP's I had in my possession for 40-50 years or so. The transfers are good. I still hold the view that Rubinstein's stereo recordings of the Nocturnes has not been surpassed. Although the Nocturne in E minor, Op. posth. 72 is included, I hoped that somebody might have looked further to see whether he had recorded the C-sharp minor and C minor Nocturnes (also 'posth') but to no avail! Sound quality seems to have improved over the LP versions.
The E-minor concerto under Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s baton is a match made in heaven!
The Sonata No 2 In B flat minor Opus 35 comes in both of Rubinstein's recorded performances (1946 and 1961). Whilst the earlier one with rather limited recorded sound quality is interesting - if for the faster tempo used, the latter is absolutely masterful - a powerful performance with the "wind howling around the gravestones" in the final movement. However, I would just Dinu Lipatti's 1940's performance of the B minor Sonata Op. 58 is slightly ahead of Rubinstien's. However, that is only an opinion.
I could continue as the whole set is a fantastic listening experience which seems likely to have largely been done in unedited 'one take per movement' performances. Most later pianists including Kissin and Pollini have tried but (again - my opinion) have not come close.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Music.Sublime Artist., 16 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
There's not much I can say about this as the product speaks for itself. Sublime Chopin, Sublime Rubinstein. 10 cds of divine music played by, in my book, the greatest ever interpreter of Chopin's piano music. The very essence of the composer portrayed by the greatest of pianists. The very heart and soul of both the composer and the pianist on a wonderful cd compilation. Sincerely, Linda Morgan.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent music, excellent player, 25 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
I you want to collect, that it is. I you want to enjoy great music played by an excellent pianist, that it is as well. Never regret to buy it. Almost play it everyday now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid experience, 16 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
I did not know that this large collection was available and since I am a big lover of Rubinstein's interpretations it is a nice rendez vous.
The service and speed is quite up to expectations and I will recommend Amazon to others
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE Chopin performance, 30 April 2013
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This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
Nobody performs Chopin like this except perhaps Chopin himself, but we'll settle for this as we'll never know.. There is nearly half a day of sheer bliss on this set
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good value, 28 April 2013
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This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
I am no expert at all but I read the reviews and am very pleased I bought this. Lovely playing and great value
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rubenstein plays Chopin, 6 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
These 10 CDs are a must have for anyone who loves piano music. Rubenstein is a master at playing Chopin and these are just brilliant - hours of true sublime pleasure!
The only grumbles are that there are no notes of the performances which go from the 1940s to about 1970s and the other grumble is that the Piano Sonata No.2 in Bb minor is on CD1 and CD9 which seems unnecessary given the amount of music Chopin wrote for the instrument - but these are negligible grumbles with so much which is just glorious.
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Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters
Rubinstein Plays Chopin - Sony Classical Masters by Arthur Rubinstein (Audio CD - 2011)
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