Chopin: Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Paolo Giacometti

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Chopin: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 Review

by Blair Sanderson

Recorded in 1998, Paolo Giacometti's performances of Frédéric Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, are among the most elegant in Classic Collection's listings, despite the major drawback of the disc's murky sound quality. Chopin's simplistic orchestration is partly to blame, as it accounts for the thickness of textures and generally flat timbral palette. But much of the muddle seems to come from the mixing board, where the bass and middle ranges are abnormally boosted at the expense of those rare passages where Chopin takes the strings and woodwinds above the treble staff. Yet when the piano writing is exposed, with minimal accompaniment, Giacometti's playing shines through with brilliance and lustrous resonance, and listening to his sensitive solos is a pleasure that makes the backing of the Rotterdam Young Philharmonic, under Arie van Beek, a little more tolerable. Still, there are numerous recordings on the market to choose from that offer similarly sensitive readings from the pianist, better control of the orchestral part, and much clearer reproduction, so this CD is only worth a spin for Giacometti's expressive interpretations. For the sake of hearing the music clearly, instead of any noisy vibrations this recording may cause in your speakers or headphones, a moderate volume is recommended for this album.

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