Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine group of performances by three fine pianists to consider, 21 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Chopin: The Nocturnes (Audio CD)
These discs, recorded in 1995 and 1996, provide a real alternative type of interpretation to those of Rubinstein or Ashkenazy to name but two of the considerable number of fine pianists recorded in this repertoire. The recording is sensitive and appropriate to the performances.

Most strikingly there is more rubato applied to the music than either of the two pianists named above. This, coupled with a generally forward moving pace, creates a marked sense that this is a set of almost improvisatory performances. The improvisatory feel to the performances however seems to be a totally natural outcome of the playing and not simply imposed upon the music by formula. This stops any sense of cloying additional emotionalism. Pires also employs a somewhat gentle touch throughout, which is not to say the the more forceful passages lack appropriate power. The performances produce a sense of affectionate warmth which is both attractive and convincing. The scale of the performances is quite intimate when compared with others.

One of the others could be Ashkenazy whose performances are altogether more architectural and conceived on a bigger emotional scale altogether. There is no doubt that there is more 'steel' in his finger-work so to speak and the tempos are kept more stable than Pires with far less rubato applied. Once more, there is no sense of overplaying the emotional content however and this too makes for a very satisfying experience. His recording is more 'present' to match the larger concept which is more of a concert hall approach in its effect as compared to the more intimate Pires.

Rubinstein goes even further along the road of intimacy with the sense that this has been recorded with a small room in mind, rather a chamber music approach. Rubinstein also keeps the rubato in check and his approach is by far the coolest of the three. Every note is clearly defined and, to quote other sources, it can be likened to a row of perfectly formed pearls set before us to admire and appreciate. Rubinstein's recording is rather closely balanced and still has a touch of woodenness about it despite the clear improvements made since LP days and early CDs.

There are three fine choices available here but all quite different. I would suggest that all three warrant very serious consideration for any potential purchaser and all three are capable of giving considerable satisfaction. Choosing the favoured discs may be a matter of assessing ideas of warmth, coolness, scale of performance (intimate up to larger) and the degrees of rubato leading to improvisatory or architectural impressions that would be most agreeable to individual taste.


A note to the anonymous negative voter:

The voting system is specifically only about reviews being 'helpful' or 'unhelpful'
Goodness only knows what you find to be `unhelpful' about this review.

A negative vote without reason is not helpful to anyone. It does not contribute in any useful way to discussion so no-one can learn from you.
If you have a different view or find the review 'unhelpful' then explain, giving your reasons, and share your views in the comment option as intended.

Your opinion might then add to the total useful advice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in


Track comments by e-mail
Tracked by 2 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Jul 2014 16:53:49 BDT
Excellent rewiev, very useful.
Even if I am not the best Chopin fan, there some recordings of his music that I love so much: among others, the Vlado Perlemuter and Adam Harasiewicz boxes (Nimbus and Philips -on vinyl- respectively), the Dinu Lipatti Waltzes, The Nelson Freire Nocturnes, and the anthologies by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (DG) and Bella Davidovich (Brilliant).
Thanks to your pretty well-done review, now it's time to listen to Maria Joao Pires!
Many thanks and all the very best.
Luigi (from Modena, Italy)

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2014 17:44:46 BDT
I. Giles says:
Hi Tardini, Thanks for your supportive comments. May I suggest that the discs by Moravec might be even more tempting. His Nocturnes are much admired as a collection and the Scherzi and Ballades are also very special. They are available on a range of labels in good, often re-mastered, sound. My reviews of his recordings were uploaded after the others so were not included in the earlier review comparisons such as this one. Best wishes and happy hunting! Ian Giles.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2014 07:43:33 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 17 Jul 2014 07:45:05 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2014 07:44:33 BDT
Hi Ian,
thanks once again for your kind advice. I din't know Moravec at all, so I listened to his nocturnes op 9 on Youtube: a first-class rendition, to be purchased at once without hesitation.
Luigi from Modena (birthplace of Ferrari, original Parmesan and Balsamic vinegar!)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2014 09:46:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jul 2014 09:49:38 BDT
I. Giles says:
Hi Tardini again.
My 'must have' Moravec suggestions would be as follows: Moravec plays Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin & French Music (4 disc set on Supraphon); Chopin Nocturnes (Supr); Chopun Preludes (Supr); M plays Chopin & Debussy (2 disc Vox set); Live in Brussels including Chopin Scherzi; Chopin sonata etc (Vox); Mozart concertos (2 disc Supr with Vlach); Mozart s concertos w. Marriner; Beethoven 4 & Ravel & Franck (Supr).
All of these are well recorded and will deliver musical satisfaction and enlightenment far beyond the financial outlay. His discs can become scarce so buy as soon as you can! Best wishes, Ian Giles
P.S. I get my photo books printed by Graphistudio in Arba, Italy.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2014 15:55:28 BDT
Hi again Ian,

thanks once again. I have checked on Youtube the cds by Moravec you kindly listed, and I found, among others, the Debussy renditions expecially beautiful.
So thanks a lot for having let me know such an Artist.
I'll check others reviews from you on Amazon, it will be a pleasure.
All the very best.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2014 18:05:27 BDT
I. Giles says:
Delighted to be of help. Best wishes and happy listening, Ian

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2015 14:08:59 BDT
I have the DG Complete Chopin box set, which includes the Pires performances of the Nocturnes. I first came across Pires playing the Mozart Piano Sonatas which is one of my treasured recordings. Mozart is so difficult, requiring total cleanliness of execution but I can't bear those pianists who play Mozart almost apologetically on a modern grand, as if trying to tone it down to the timbre of an early piano of Mozart's day. Pires for me hits the spot exactly with her superb performances which are expressive without going over the top and playing the Sonatas as if they were Rachmaninov!! I agree totally with everything you said in your review about the beauty of her Chopin Nocturnes. They are an experience, from the heart and the head! She's not a well-known name compared to many, but I have come to regard her as one of the outstanding pianists of modern times. I don't know if she's ever recorded any Schumann but I would love to hear her playing his piano works including the Concerto. I'm sure they would be equally stunning as her Mozart and Chopin!!

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2015 14:25:24 BDT
I've just answered my own question about whether Pires recorded any Schumann!! Looking on the Amazon site she has, both solo works including Waldszenen, the Piano Concerto and the Piano Quintet which is one of my very favourite chamber works. Silly me actually already has the Schumann Concerto which I bought recently - the LSO Live performance with Sir John Elliot Gardiner - though I bought the CD for the Mendelssohn primarily and didn't realise Pires was the soloist in the Schumann!!! I'm off to order her recording of the concerto with Abbado coupled with the Piano Quintet and the solo piano CD!!

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2015 15:50:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 Mar 2015 15:50:37 BDT
I. Giles says:
Dear Mr Austen,
Glad you found Pires to be so rewarding. Moravec is also well worth exploring. You might be interested in some other performances of distinction of the Schumann concerto which I personally rate highly and in no alphabetical order: They are those by Andsnes, van Cliburn, Fleisher, Kovacevich, Lupu and Moravec (as well as the idiomatic and less well recorded Richter). The piano quintet is particularly well done by Andsnes coupled with the Brahms quintet. Best wishes and happy listening, Ian Giles.
‹ Previous 1 2 Next ›

Review Details



I. Giles

Location: Argyll, Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 9