What is it that makes Claudio Arrau's 1973 recording of Chopin's preludes and his 1974 recording of Schumann's papillons so ineffably beautiful? It's not his technique. A pupil of a pupil of Liszt, Arrau had been one of the great super virtuosos of the middle years of the twentieth century; by the time these recordings were made, his technique wasn't quite what it had been, and one can hear more than a few gaffes and slips in the harder passages. Part of it is his tone. Beyond even Horowitz's fabled tone, Arrau's tone was subtle, sensual, and colorful and he deploys it here with complete command. But more of it is his interpretations. Beyond even Richter's magnificent interpretations, Arrau's are heroic, lyric, and supremely poetic and he employs his compassionate insights into Chopin and Schumann's romantic and evanescent music with consummate musicianship. Recorded in pellucidly luminous stereo sound that this super audio digital reincarnation somehow contrives to improve upon, this disc deserves to be heard by everyone who loves music.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Preludes (24) for piano, Op. 28, CT. 166-189|