Chopin Gold

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In honor of Frédéric Chopin's 200th birthday, Deutsche Grammophon compiled 32 tracks of its finest recordings for the 2010 double-disc collection, Chopin Gold, providing more than two hours of exquisite piano music. The roster of artists, which includes such luminaries as Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nelson Freire, Vladimir Horowitz, Lang Lang, Maria João Pires, Maurizio Pollini, Sviatoslav Richter, and 10 others, reveals both the depth of the label's catalog and the breadth of the selections here, for these are among the most celebrated and diverse masters of Chopin's oeuvre one could imagine, and their interpretations run the gamut, from the wildly exuberant and passionate to the coolly restrained and refined. Whether one is an experienced listener who favors some performers over others, or a complete beginner overwhelmed with the range of styles and expressions, this album is a generous survey of Chopin's best-known solo piano pieces. With the exception of the Marche funèbre, which is taken from the Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, the program consists of whole pieces, so this is a satisfying survey that connoisseurs and newcomers can appreciate for its coherent coverage of Chopin's best loved works. One drawback, though, is the slight variability of sound, which is most noticeable in volume levels, but also evident in the quality of the audio. Deutsche Grammophon is famous for its extraordinary reproduction, but in side-by-side comparisons of the performances, the differences due to recording dates and venues can easily be detected.

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