4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A distinctive and historic set by a renowned Chopin specialist,
This review is from: Chopin: Mazurkas (Artur Rubinstein Collection, Vol 50) (Audio CD)
Rubinstein was renowned for his Chopin playing which was characterised by a slightly cool aristocratic approach and delivered with great clarity. The scale of the playing was relatively restrained, easily identifiable as ideal for smaller halls or intimate surroundings as opposed to the larger concert halls which would demand a more robust style of delivery.
The recorded sound suits this approach being relatively dry and quite closely balanced. The degree of 'woodenness' in the recorded piano sound has been reduced on this re-mastering and is now kinder to both Rubinstein and the listener.
The mazurkas are not normally played in their entirety as here and there are many which have become favourites and several they are relatively unfamiliar. Rubinstein's skill is to play them all as though they have equal worth. The slightly dispassionate performances avoid the over-romanticised excesses of some pianists who wear their hearts a little too obviously on their sleeves for the content of the music. It is important to remember that these pieces especially were conceived on a more intimate scale than the scherzi, ballades or polonaises for example so Rubinstein's approach is correctly restrained.
I would suggest that as these performances have achieved reference or benchmark status for a great number of people they should be seriously considered as a potential purchase. Other performances come and go but these have stayed the course for years and I suspect will continue to do so for as long as there are listeners willing to learn from a master Chopin pianist. Much the same can be said of Rubinstein's Chopin in general and bearing that in mind it should be mentioned that there is an 11 disc collection of his Chopin recordings which may well be an alternative choice for collectors.
Further Note: The 10 disc box set published in 2010 with 24 bit remastering of the whole collection offers a significant improvement on sound in every way on all discs. This can be confidently stated as I own both and have been able to do an A/B comparison. That box set must now be the best possible purchase.