If the purpose of super audio technology is to display the varied timbres of an orchestra or the subtle nuances of a soloist, then one has to ask what can be highlighted in the two piano concertos of Frédéric Chopin, which do not easily lend themselves to sonic showcasing. Not that there is anything wrong with Chopin's music in itself -- certainly, there is much melodic beauty and expressive passion in both scores -- but his modest orchestration and homogenous textures are among the last things that could seem to benefit from DSD processing and multichannel recording. In this audiophile presentation by pianist William Youn and the Nüremberg Symphony, conducted by Friedemann Riehle, the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, are strangely muted affairs, with little feeling of depth or breadth, highs or lows, or even finely wrought details to justify the use of state-of-the-art reproduction. Youn's playing is elegant and clean, so his performances are a pleasure to hear in their own right, but they are not served well by the thick orchestral accompaniment, which sounds too close to the piano and tends to muffle its sonorities in the middle range. The best passages are Youn's solos without the orchestra, where his skills are readily apparent and his eloquent phrasing and delicate touch can clearly be heard.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Concerto No. 1 for Piano & Orchestra in E minor, Op. 11|
|Concerto No. 2 for Piano & Orchestra in F minor, Op. 21|