Various Artists

Chopin Highlights

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In honor of the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin's birth, Berlin Classics has reissued several ADD and DDD recordings for the triple-disc compendium, Chopin Highlights. Credit is due for the straightforward program, which includes complete performances of the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, performed by Annerose Schmidt and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, conducted by Kurt Masur, as well as two discs of solo piano pieces played by pianists Andreas Pistorius and Elfrun Gabriel. Unlike other compilations on this label that sometimes offer excerpts of large works and a longer and potentially confusing roster of performers, this package is simply laid out and planned for easy appreciation, a real help since this basic survey comes without any liner notes. Schmidt's performances of the concertos were recorded in 1984 and 1985, while Pistorius' album was made in 1983 and Gabriel's in 1999, so there is a little unevenness of sound quality, though that is perhaps only noticeable if these discs are played immediately after each other. Otherwise, the reproduction is decent, and the playing is respectable and perfectly serviceable for an introductory set.

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