As long as EMI was already reissuing many of its legendary performances in 2010 for its Essential twofer line, it likely occurred to someone to put out a generous collection of music by Frédéric Chopin to coincide with the 200th anniversary of his birth. The label certainly has an enormous backlist of great Chopin recordings to offer, and world-class pianists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Martha Argerich, Andrei Gavrilov, Stephen Kovacevich, Garrick Ohlsson, Cécile Ousset, Maurizio Pollini, and Maria Tipo are just some of the artists included in this double-disc package. Chopin's piano works are evenly represented, so there are examples of his waltzes, mazurkas, nocturnes, preludes, etudes, polonaises, and pieces in other forms, and practically every track will instantly be recognized by even the most casual classical fan. Because the tracks are a mix of ADD and DDD recordings, there is a slight variability in sound, but the remastered selections are well balanced in volume and virtually free of any analog hiss. The only problem listeners might encounter is the likelihood of duplicating pieces that are on similar collections, but because Chopin's music is so frequently anthologized, some of that is inevitable. Yet newcomers to Chopin really will hear the essential works and find this collection an attractive introduction.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
|Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35|
|Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11|
Track Listing - Disc 2
|Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58|