Even though Daniel Barenboim has made only a few recordings of Frédéric Chopin's music, he is well-suited to it by his temperament and esthetic preferences. Barenboim is a reserved pianist who plays with an introspection that is wholly appropriate for Chopin and it was put to best purpose in his 1981 set of the complete Nocturnes. This is the chief reason why his 2010 recordings of solo piano pieces for the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth are welcomed by his admirers and received with approval by critics. As a companion to Barenboim's recordings of Chopin's piano concertos, which were recorded live at the 2010 Ruhr Piano Festival, this release presents a live recital in Warsaw's National Philharmonic Concert Hall. The two albums are highly recommended to fans who have lamented Barenboim's apparent neglect of this composer over the years, and to anyone who can appreciate deeply thoughtful readings of Chopin's works. Barenboim has even taken pains to organize his program through tonal centers, which, with only a couple of exceptions, revolve around D flat major and closely related keys. This planning gives a unifying quality to the recital and demonstrates Barenboim's careful attention to the presentation. But the interpretations are what most listeners will notice, and Barenboim is in fine form in these recordings, playing with an understanding and sympathy that sustain the music and make it compelling. While the audio is less than Deutsche Grammophon's usual best, due to the concert conditions, it is still attractive and reasonably clean, and the microphone placement ensures that every note is heard.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35|