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#395004 - 07/01/01 10:05 PM Chopin Ballades
Aura Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 92
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Hello everyone,

I am learning the Chopin Ballades and am searching for good recordings. I have Ashkenazy already, and (forgive me) find him rather dry and uninteresting. Could you recommend others?

Has anyone heard Artur Rubinstein's Ballades?

Thanks for your help,
Aura
_________________________
cheers

Aura

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#395005 - 07/01/01 10:57 PM Re: Chopin Ballades
netizen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 1926
Loc: New York
Rubinstein's Chopin recordings (RCA) are wonderful treasures. By all means, do give them a listen! They set a pretty high bar in my opinion. You might also want to check out Garrick Ohlsson's excellent recording of the ballades on the Arabesque label.

A couple of other personal favorites: Richter's recording of the 4th ballade; Michelangeli's recording of Ballade no 1.
_________________________
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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#395006 - 07/01/01 11:03 PM Re: Chopin Ballades
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5298
Loc: McAllen, TX
I agree about the Ashkenazy - it's so middle of the road. Some recent recordings that I have heard very good things about are Murray Perriah and Pollini. Perriah will most likely display more warmth than Pollini, but Pollini's playing is so solid on a pianistic level.

All at once? That's begging for tendonitus! \:D

Brendan
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#395007 - 07/01/01 11:55 PM Re: Chopin Ballades
Mat D. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Sterling Heights, Michigan
I'd like to also put in a good word for the Rubinstein recordings of the Ballades. I have several recordings of these works and I'd have to say I like the Rubinstein best.

Pollini is 'perfect' but a bit sterlie for my taste (in the Ballades). I also agree that Ashkenazy's Ballades are rather blah. I also find Ashkenazy's recordings to be a bit too 'ambient'--just too much reverb for my taste.

Mat D.

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#395008 - 07/02/01 06:41 AM Re: Chopin Ballades
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
yeah Ashkenazy's Ballades are not very interesting... Pollini plays them very nicely... full of life in the faster sections, but a little less emotion in the slower/softer passages... i think it's a little hard to record a perfect Ballade... you need to have technical dexterity plus expression and you can't overdo both... striking the balance is a problem, and even then it's subjective to the listener...

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#395009 - 07/02/01 07:30 AM Re: Chopin Ballades
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
Aura,

The young Ashkenazy seems to outshine the older, supposedly mature one IMO. In the case of Chopin Ballades I'm not sure which version you listened to. Try the Decca Legends recording of Ashkenazy and see how you feel about it.

My personal favorite of these Ballades is Zimerman's recording under DG. I'd recommend a few others, the likes of Nicolai Demidenko, S. Richter, C. Katsaris.

I have yet to warm up to Perahia's reading of these great pieces.

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#395010 - 07/02/01 07:46 AM Re: Chopin Ballades
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
I did mean to include the recording of the 4 Ballades by Bernard D'Ascoli. Listen to them and see what a totally blind pianist has accomplished.

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#395011 - 07/02/01 06:18 PM Re: Chopin Ballades
Alex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 116
Loc: Plano, tx
As per Andrew's recommendation, I got the Zimerman version and it is clearly the best version of the Ballades I have heard. It's how I would play them if I could.

And, am I the only one here who likes the Ashkenazy version?

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#395012 - 07/02/01 07:25 PM Re: Chopin Ballades
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5298
Loc: McAllen, TX
Apparently so, my friend. I kind of like his Fourth, but generally he just seems lost in the rubato to me and never really goes anywhere.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#395013 - 07/02/01 09:57 PM Re: Chopin Ballades
Joe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 86
Loc: New Jersey
I have the Rubinstien recording of the Ballades and the Scherzos, and I love it. He played them all very well, though I think Horowitz has done the best on the b- Scherzo that I've heard. As far as the g- Ballade though, there's no contest. The Horowitz was the first version I heard, and it was fantastic when I heard it, but Rubinstien's is much clearer and more poetic, still with plenty of fire.

I used to have Abbey Simon playing the Ballades, but I lost it. \:\( I liked that recording a lot also.

I have Ashkenazy playing the Scriabin Sonatas, and I find it somewhat dry as well. I've heard that comment from a few people, mainly about his later recordings. It's still a nice recording to have to get to know them, especially since there's no way I'm sight reading through any of them, at least at this point in my life

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#395014 - 07/02/01 10:11 PM Re: Chopin Ballades
MacDuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 560
Loc: Southeast, U.S.A.
Off the beaten track, Maria Tipo has made some superb recordings of the Ballades. \:\)

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#395015 - 07/02/01 10:17 PM Re: Chopin Ballades
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
I also think Rubinstein has the best recordings of the Ballades, I also like his recording of the Polonaises. Pollini is perhaps more perfect and polished, but musically i think Rubinstein is best. Concerning the Polonaises, what are some other good recordings of them, or the nocturnes for that matter. ( I have Claudio Arrau for those, very fine)

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#395016 - 07/03/01 12:35 AM Re: Chopin Ballades
Aura Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 92
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
For Chopin Nocturnes, I think you'll find Rubinstein superb. I heard them quite some time ago, and in my memory they were just absolute gems... really brilliant.
_________________________
cheers

Aura

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#395017 - 07/03/01 08:31 AM Re: Chopin Ballades
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
CrashTest,

For the complete Nocturnes I would recommend Fou Ts'ong, Maria Joao Pires. You already have Arrau that is one of the best.

For the complete Polonaise I vote for Pollini and Cherkasky. I also vote strongly against Lazar Berman in this repertory.

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#395018 - 07/03/01 09:21 AM Re: Chopin Ballades
Joe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 86
Loc: New Jersey
I think I'll check those out as well. I like my recording of Peter Frankl doing the Polonaises, but I'd really like to hear some other versions, to see how they stack up. Anyone have a favorite Polonaise? Mine's the f# minor one, op.44.

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#395019 - 07/03/01 11:12 AM Re: Chopin Ballades
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5298
Loc: McAllen, TX
Joe,

I've got Ashkenazy's Scriagin also, but I think that it's wonderful, especially #5. I haven't heard many other performances aside from his, so I will admit a lack of exposure, but I think that he really gets into them.

A common comment about his playing is that it takes no definite stance and is so middle-of-the-road; this recording breaks that trend (to my ears).

Brendan
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#395020 - 07/03/01 11:30 AM Re: Chopin Ballades
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
I'm not trying to veer off the Chopin topic here but I'm with Brendan regarding Ashkenazy's Scriabin 10 Sonatas. I like them quite a bit. My listening exposure is also limited in this repertory. I have only 3 sets of complete Scriabin sonatas. Ashkenazy tops among my sets anyway. Oh Well...

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