Claudio Arrau

Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 3; Fantasy

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For listeners who came of age in the latter decades of the twentieth century, Claudio Arrau was the soulful pianist who produced some of the most beautiful -- and some of the most deliberate -- recordings of the Romantic repertoire ever made. For listeners who came of age in the central decades of the century, however, Arrau was the soulful pianists who produced not only some of the most beautiful Romantic recordings ever made, he was also the pianist who produced some of the most virtuosic recordings ever made. On this 1962 recording of Chopin's Sonata in B minor and Fantasy in F minor coupled with his 1961 recording of Weber's Konzertstück in F minor, Arrau was at the very peak of his technical and interpretive abilities. Chopin's intricate passagework and powerful climaxes are realized with unerring accuracy and Weber's daredevil virtuosity is fulfilled with uncanny brilliance by a pianist whose digital dexterity was second to none. As importantly, Chopin's deeply expressive music and Weber's extravagantly passionate music is interpreted by a pianist whose poignant lyricism and profound beauty of tone have been equaled but never surpassed. For any listener who loves soulful piano playing, Arrau's Chopin and Weber recordings demand to be heard. And the inclusion of Arrau's 1951 recording of Mendelssohn's Andante & Rondo capriccioso as an encore is a wonderful bonus. EMI's remastered stereo and mono sound is just a wee bit antique, but still eminently listenable.

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