Vladimir Ashkenazy

Chopin: Solo Piano Works

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Reissued in 2010 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin's birth, Vladimir Ashkenazy's recordings of the solo piano pieces have long been admired and held to be among the pianist's best work. This 13-CD box set brings together all the major works, including the piano sonatas, preludes, nocturnes, ballades, scherzos, polonaises, mazurkas, waltzes, and études, along with other miscellaneous pieces that are less familiar for not being included in less comprehensive collections. Ashkenazy recorded these selections between 1974 and 1984, so they fall in the transitional period where analog technology reached its apex but was replaced by digital recording processes that had not quite been perfected. To the extent that an experienced listener can detect the differences in reproduction, the tracks will be a little variable, but because there is no chronological layout or clear division of ADD and DDD tracks, it is difficult to judge the value of the set on its sound quality. One should let Ashkenazy's bravura style be the determining factor, for his playing is energetic, exciting, and fun to hear; even though there are a few rhythmic inaccuracies and he sometimes sounds like a thumper in the loudest passages, Ashkenazy is deserving of praise for highlighting the inner voices and for coaxing an almost orchestral variety of timbres from the instrument. Whether his Chopin is tasteful, subtle, or sufficiently refined can be debated, and more rarefied performances of this music can be found. But this collection is hard to beat for its communicability and forthright vigor, and Ashkenazy certainly matches anyone else for charisma.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
24 Preludes, Op. 28
1 0:49
2 2:02
3 0:59
4 2:00
5 0:35
6 2:02
7 0:56
8 2:05
9 1:19
10 0:29
11 0:41
12 1:13
13 3:22
14 0:39
15 5:16
16 1:10
17 3:09
18 1:04
19 1:24
20 1:37
21 1:46
22 0:49
23 1:07
24 2:35
25 4:38
26 0:43
27 4:00
28 5:58
29 4:33
30 4:53

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
12 Études, Op. 10
1 2:00
2 1:21
3 4:24
4 2:05
5 1:42
6 4:06
7 1:30
8 2:22
9 2:23
10 2:18
11 2:29
12 2:51
12 Études, Op. 25
13 2:57
14 1:53
15 1:53
16 1:36
17 3:37
18 2:08
19 5:46
20 1:09
21 0:58
22 4:47
23 3:48
24 2:46

Track Listing - Disc 9

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
4 Mazurkas, Op. 6
1 3:16
2 2:30
3 1:38
4 1:02
5 Mazurkas, Op. 7
5 1:49
6 3:16
7 2:23
8 1:09
9 0:48
4 Mazurkas, Op. 17
10 1:58
11 1:58
12 4:06
13 4:15
4 Mazurkas, Op. 24
14 2:50
15 2:04
16 1:56
17 4:34
4 Mazurkas, Op. 30
18 1:32
19 1:09
20 2:39
21 3:40
4 Mazurkas, Op. 33
22 1:27
23 2:04
24 1:29
25 4:36
4 Mazurkas, Op. 41
26 3:32
27 2:21
28 1:09
29 1:57

Track Listing - Disc 10

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
3 Mazurkas, Op. 50
1 1:51
2 2:53
3 5:00
3 Mazurkas, Op. 56
4 3:57
5 1:36
6 5:57
3 Mazurkas, Op. 59
7 4:30
8 2:32
9 3:16
3 Mazurkas, Op. 63
10 2:01
11 2:10
12 2:28
4 Mazurkas, Op. 67
13 1:03
14 1:57
15 1:28
16 2:30
4 Mazurkas, Op. 68
17 1:29
18 3:11
19 1:17
20 2:20
21 3:08
22 3:15
23 1:11
24 1:45
25 1:17
26 2:22
27 1:03
28 1:16
29 1:05
30 3:29