Author Topic: Chopin Nocturnes  (Read 18947 times)

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Scarpia

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Chopin Nocturnes
« on: January 28, 2010, 09:42:27 AM »

My favorites at the moment are Tipo (EMI) and Arrau (Philips) with good marks for Ashkenazy.

The interesting thing about these works, in my view, is that atmosphere is more important than pyrotechnics.  Technical brilliance is irrelevant, except to the extent that it makes the performance sound effortless.

Tipo is my current favorite because of the way she indulges herself in a way that seems free and playful without becoming "self-indulgent" in the pejorative sense.  And how can anyone fault Arrau's aristocratic sentiment here?


George

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 12:57:07 PM »
You've got my two favorites there for sure, Scarpia. Arrau's set was my first and I love the way every phrase, every note, is handled with exquisite care. Tipo's set is great too. I can't say anything specific, as I don't know it as well as the Arrau, but I certainly plan to hear it more. In fact, I think that many pianists play these works well, I wonder if it's because they are beloved by pianists? Pires has a very nice, if somewhat "big" way with them, perhaps great Nocturnes to enjoy at dusk. Moravec's classic set features his gorgeous tone and his deep sensitivity. Rubinstein's two mono sets are wonderful, with the earliest one being my preferred of the two. Wasowski is not as good here as he is with the Mazurkas, but he's still among the better ones that I have heard. Like you, I enjoy Ashkenazy's, but find that others bring more to these works.

Scarpia

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 01:08:17 PM »
You've got my two favorites there for sure, Scarpia. Arrau's set was my first and I love the way every phrase, every note, is handled with exquisite care. Tipo's set is great too. I can't say anything specific, as I don't know it as well as the Arrau, but I certainly plan to hear it more. In fact, I think that many pianists play these works well, I wonder if it's because they are beloved by pianists? Pires has a very nice, if somewhat "big" way with them, perhaps great Nocturnes to enjoy at dusk. Moravec's classic set features his gorgeous tone and his deep sensitivity. Rubinstein's two mono sets are wonderful, with the earliest one being my preferred of the two. Wasowski is not as good here as he is with the Mazurkas, but he's still among the better ones that I have heard. Like you, I enjoy Ashkenazy's, but find that others bring more to these works.

The one set of Nocturne's that I decidedly didn't like was Barenboim's set on DG, which I would say took them too seriously.  To my mind, they should be light, perhaps tinged with a bit of darkness, but not solemn. 

George

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 01:14:16 PM »
The one set of Nocturne's that I decidedly didn't like was Barenboim's set on DG, which I would say took them too seriously.  To my mind, they should be light, perhaps tinged with a bit of darkness, but not solemn.

Yeah, I agree, solemn doesn't work here. I like my Nocturnes to be dark, mysterious - even sexy.  8)

Haven't heard the Barenboim set, though I almost picked it up a few times. I think over a dozen sets is enough, even though the Nocturnes are some of my favorite piano works, definitely desert island material.


Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 02:35:26 PM »
To hear how great these pieces can be I think you have to listen to Cortot, especially in Op 27/1.

Also very good --  Sofronitsky, Pletnev, Ignaz Friedman, Leo Sirota and Claudio Arrau live .

No sets there, I am afraid.

Of the complete sets I know, the one  which has given me most pleasure is Pollini's (maybe the best -- you can hear the Rubinstein influence but he is more dramatic and less detached  than Rubinstein's post war recordings, and so for me superior.)

I also think there are many good things in Samson Francois's set.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 02:39:10 PM by Mandryka »
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Scarpia

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 02:50:21 PM »
To hear how great these pieces can be I think you have to listen to Cortot, especially in Op 27/1.

Also very good --  Sofronitsky, Pletnev, Ignaz Friedman, Leo Sirota and Claudio Arrau live .

No sets there, I am afraid.

Of the complete sets I know, the one  which has given me most pleasure is Pollini's (maybe the best -- you can hear the Rubinstein influence but he is more dramatic and less detached  than Rubinstein's post war recordings, and so for me superior.)

I also think there are many good things in Samson Francois's set.

Wow, I didn't realize Pollini had done the Nocturnes, sound very very good in the brief excepts.   :(

Offline Bunny

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 02:51:10 PM »
Yeah, I agree, solemn doesn't work here. I like my Nocturnes to be dark, mysterious - even sexy.  8)

Haven't heard the Barenboim set, though I almost picked it up a few times. I think over a dozen sets is enough, even though the Nocturnes are some of my favorite piano works, definitely desert island material.



I was able to pick up the Complete Nocturnes by Pascal Amoyel and I was so glad that I did.  It's definitely in the top tier.  If you want sexy, night dark nocturnes, then these are definitely for you. They stand up against the best -- and I like them better than Pollini, as they are so much more sensual.  I bought them from Amazon France, but they are also available as downloads from Amazon and Itunes, albeit with the wrong cover art.


Offline Bunny

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 02:53:44 PM »
Wow, I didn't realize Pollini had done the Nocturnes, sound very very good in the brief excepts.   :(

You can still pick them up at Yourmusic.com for $13.98 (shipping included but tax if applicable is extra).


George

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 02:57:49 PM »
I was able to pick up the Complete Nocturnes by Pascal Amoyel and I was so glad that I did.  It's definitely in the top tier.  If you want sexy, night dark nocturnes, then these are definitely for you. They stand up against the best -- and I like them better than Pollini, as they are so much more sensual.  I bought them from Amazon France, but they are also available as downloads from Amazon and Itunes,

Thanks Bunny! I'll keep an eye out for that set. Someone else (or was it you?) posted that set over on the Chopin thread.

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albeit with the wrong cover art.



I know, right? He looks like the dude I bought weed from in high school.  8)

Offline Bunny

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 10:30:06 PM »



I know, right? He looks like the dude I bought weed from in high school.  8)

Come to think of it, I think he is the dude you scored the weed from.   ;)

Offline Holden

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2010, 12:37:04 AM »
OK, I haven't heard Amoyal or Tipo but I have heard Pollini, Arrau and Pires. I still go back to Moravec and Rubinstein in the Nocturnes for one very simple reason.

This is music that is so well composed that it doesn't require an interpreter. Pollini, Arrau and Pires tend to try and add things to the music that isn't there. Each in their own way try to add more rubato/play around with the tempo/look for phrasing that isn't anywhere in the music that Chopin wrote.

Both Moravec and Rubinstein play the music in a perfectly natural way and have a way with the phrasing that is so essentially Chopin. Moravec tends to the darker side of many of the Nocturnes compared to Rubinstein's warmer but still passionate approach. Ahskenazy also let's the music flow around it's own courses.

My only recommendations would be Ashkenazy, Moravec and Rubinstein - take your choice.
Cheers

Holden

Offline Todd

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2010, 08:17:35 AM »
The interesting thing about these works, in my view, is that atmosphere is more important than pyrotechnics.



I must agree here.  For me, I confess a certain soft spot for Moravec's recording, and Ashkenazy is quite good.  Over the past few years, Yukio Yokoyama's set has been growing one me.  He tends to be somewhat superficial in his playing, and he tends to emphasize flash, but here his superificiality works, and he's a also a bit cool, and the flash is restrained.  Curiously good.  I'm still on the fence about Pollini.
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Offline Herman

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2010, 09:46:25 AM »
To my mind, they should be light, perhaps tinged with a bit of darkness, but not solemn.

It's interesting you say this, because the Arrau studio recording doesn't work for me in many instances, because it's too solemn and contrived. From Op 48 onwards this works better. Thee are a couple of live recordings (by Arrau) of single pieces that are just terrific.

I like Tipo (though again, not all of them). Pires is unbearable.

I like the various Rubinstein recorings, and I like the Moravec too.

Unfortunately I am not familiar with pre-war nocturne recordings by Cortot. As it happens I listened to two different Preludes cycles of Cortot's today, and I am again stunned by the kind of music this man makes.

Drasko

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2010, 09:54:48 AM »
Unfortunately I am not familiar with pre-war nocturne recordings by Cortot.

Are there any?

George

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2010, 09:55:11 AM »
Unfortunately I am not familiar with pre-war nocturne recordings by Cortot.

They are available on Naxos, coupled with the Ballades.

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As it happens I listened to two different Preludes cycles of Cortot's today, and I am again stunned by the kind of music this man makes.

I absolutely agree.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2010, 10:43:21 AM »


Unfortunately I am not familiar with pre-war nocturne recordings by Cortot. As it happens I listened to two different Preludes cycles of Cortot's today, and I am again stunned by the kind of music this man makes.

Glad you are enjoying Cortot's Chopin, Herman. Finally there's something we both like.

When I mentioned his nocturnes, I actually had the post war recordings in mind. Those on EMI mainly, but also there is an APR  disc with some previously unreleased recordings of Opus 55/2. That APR disc is extremely valuable I think -- not just for the Chopin, but also because, I would say, it contains his best Kinderzenen .

Those recordings give the lie to the idea that Cortot was unable to produce great work after the war.

Are there any?

I think he only recorded Op 9/2 before the war.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 11:02:45 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2010, 10:53:46 AM »
The interesting thing about these works, in my view, is that atmosphere is more important than pyrotechnics. 

Of course, pyrotechnics is a bit of a loaded word, but I suspect we disagree very fundamentally.

For me, some of  these works are very dramatic. Full of fireworks, in fact. That's what Cortot and Sofronitsky and Pollini bring.

Even Moravec finds fireworks in Op 27/1.

The Arrau studio set fails in this respect sometimes, most gravely in Op 62/1. But Arrau's live Op 62 /1 on Ermitage is full of intense drama -- and IMO is one of the most interesting nocturne performances on record.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2010, 10:58:13 AM »
I still go back to Moravec and Rubinstein .



One too sentimental. The other too dry -- at least if you mean the post war recordings.

To me those two are extremes of different traditions of nocturne playing. You're lucky to be able to enjoy both.
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Offline Herman

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2010, 10:59:39 AM »
The Arrau studio set fails in this respect sometimes, most gravely in Op 62/1. But Arrau's live Op 62 /1 on Ermitage is full of intense drama -- and IMO is one of the most interesting nocturne performances on record.

QFT

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Chopin Nocturnes
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2010, 11:05:21 AM »
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