Daniel Barenboim

Chopin: Nocturnes

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This package of Frédéric Chopin's nocturnes was issued as the fourth volume in Deutsche Grammophon's complete edition of his works, a large box set that was released in 1999 on the 150th anniversary of the composer's death. However, pianist Daniel Barenboim originally recorded the performances in 1981, and there have been several reissues, as a whole set on two discs or as selections on a single CD. These reflective character pieces are handled with finesse and poetic expression by Barenboim, who usually plays such subtle Romantic music with great restraint, thoughtfulness, and refinement, and seldom lets its passions get away from his control. To the extent that Barenboim plays with a delicate touch and Deutsche Grammophon's wide audio range allows for many nuances, there may be some concern whether the volume of the recording will need adjustment because a soft level makes the piano seem too faint, while a recommended middle setting yields a more credible presence. Still, at whatever level of playback, this is a tasteful and polished rendition, and judging from Chopin's own preferences in playing the nocturnes, it seems rather close in spirit.

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