Artur Rubinstein

Artur Rubinstein: The Chopin Recordings

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AllMusic Review by

Even though RCA's outstanding recordings from the 1960s of Arthur Rubinstein playing Chopin are the most recommended versions for their exquisite interpretations and superior sound quality, some still turn to his recordings from the 1920s and '30s, which in many cases have the edge for passion and physical strength. Yet it is only fair to point out the limitations of this box set from EMI, which presents the concertos, nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, and polonaises in clean, digitally remastered audio, but has a closed-in, boxy quality that some listeners will find difficult to tolerate. Fortunately, these vintage recordings of Rubinstein performing at the peak of his powers have little distracting surface noise, and anyone who has had experience with historical recordings will find them quite attractive for the preservation of the piano's natural luster and for the lack of distortion. Once one accepts the compressed sound as a necessary condition, it's easy to see why Rubinstein's admirers champion these legendary performances, for his expressions are mature but still fresh and energetic, and his brilliance and bravado come across clearly, despite the age of the recordings. This set will be best appreciated by fans and specialists in the repertoire, but others will derive some benefits by giving it a fair hearing.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:53
4 Mazurkas, Op. 6
2 1:58
3 2:25
4 1:47
5 0:24
5 Mazurkas, Op. 7
6 2:11
7 2:49
8 2:32
9 0:57
10 0:35
4 Mazurkas, Op. 17
11 2:14
12 2:04
13 4:06
14 4:16
4 Mazurkas, Op. 24
15 2:03
16 2:11
17 1:58
18 4:00
4 Mazurkas, Op. 30
19 1:33
20 1:19
21 2:34
22 3:30
4 Mazurkas, Op. 33
23 1:24
24 2:21
25 1:31
26 4:28
4 Mazurkas, Op. 41
27 3:11
28 2:07
29 1:06
30 1:58
3 Mazurkas, Op. 50
31 2:13
32 2:27
33 4:32

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
3 Mazurkas, Op. 56
1 3:44
2 1:24
3 4:52
3 Mazurkas, Op. 59
4 3:20
5 2:25
6 3:14
3 Mazurkas, Op. 63
7 2:04
8 1:47
9 2:13
4 Mazurkas, Op. 67
10 1:08
11 1:27
12 1:37
13 1:48
4 Mazurkas, Op. 68
14 1:35
15 2:47
16 1:27
17 2:03
18 2:08
19 3:18
20 8:22
21 8:17
22 6:31
23 9:35
blue highlight denotes track pick