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Comment: no outer box otherwise like new (some discs sealed). Comes with small book and booklet with each disc set. 17 Discs total.
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Chopin: Complete Edition Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, October 12, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

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On the 150th anniversary of his death, Deutsche Grammophon released this impressive box set featuring the complete works of Frédéric Chopin. Spread out over 17 CDs, it contains some truly big-name artists--Argerich, Pollini, Barenboim, and Ashkenazy--and a few you've probably never heard of. The majority of the set's nine volumes contain some music newly produced for this undertaking, and a few items (Chopin's songs, for instance) were recorded specifically for this collection. A well-illustrated book is included--it contains an essay, dateline, and illustrations--and each volume in the set gets its own liner notes. The music? It varies from great to less than great, but most of it is worth hearing. Those accustomed to Rubinstein's readings of the Mazurkas will find those played by Jean-Marc Luisada less fluid and lacking Rubinstein's power. Chopin's songs, seldom heard and filled with elements of Polish folk dances and the less-than-stellar lyrics of the composer's friend Stefan Witwicki, get a college try here by soprano Elzbieta Szmytka. They sound as good as you'll hear anywhere (if you can find them). It probably goes without saying that Martha Argerich's rousing 26 Préludes are some of the set's more exciting moments. But, really, the entire collection is solid. It should be noted that budget label Naxos has released its own Chopin edition at less than half the price of this set. With Idil Biret as the only performer on that set, you miss out on some of the diverse performances and personalities found here. Also, to please those of us who already own favorite performances of these works, each two-CD volume in the Complete Chopin Edition can be purchased individually. Bravo. --Jason Verlinde

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Product Details

  • Composer: F. Chopin
  • Audio CD (October 12, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 17
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00001X58Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,773 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I commend DG on producing this comprehensive and thoughtfully packaged/annotated collection of Chopin's output. In it one can appreciate the wondrous manner in which Chopin at once appeased the conservative appetites of the Paris salon set while revolutionizing the genre of piano music in both traditional and more intimate forms.

The greatest virtue of this collection is the opportunity to hear more obscure elements of Chopin's collected ouevre. He wrote some lovely chamber music and wrote highly effective variations with and without orchestra. Among his 17 songs are a few gems.

As for the strength of the performances, some of them are rightly considered definitive. I love Zimerman in the piano concerti, Argerich owns the Op. 28 preludes, and I find in Pollini's scherzos the unbridled energy and interpretive depth required by these challenging pieces. Even if Daniel Barenboim's nocturnes do not set any records, they are well-done and completely satisfying.

I was less enthusiastic about Pollini's readings of the latter 2 piano sonatas, which I find prosaic on the whole. I was equally underwhelmed by Bunin's impromptus, which again betray interpretive rather than technical deficiencies. My greatest disappointment is Jean-Marc Luisada's controversial readings of the mazurkas. An unwieldy rubato rules the day here, and distorts the harmonic language to the point that it sounds like Debussy or Ravel's frequent (and unshakeably French-sounding) evocations of Spain. I much prefer any of the Rubinstein mazurka sets, which are colorful but rhythmically mindful of their namesakes.

Properly supplemented in the more familiar repertory (mazurkas, impromptus, sonatas, in particular), I believe this set is indispensable to anyone who appreciates or seeks a broader understanding of Chopin the composer. I recommend it highly.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Holming on April 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I am a professional Pianist and Piano-pedagoge trained at the University of Graz and Vienna (Austria).
It seems as often reviewers/critics/listeners have the same opinions: I wonder if it isn't in some cases the old story of the Emperors new clothes - nobody dares to have a different opinion, as they do not want to appear stupid.
Some of the reviewers here, didn't like Luisadas performances of the Mazurkas. I hold the heretical opinion that Jean-Marc Luisadas performances are much better than Rubinsteins (I possess the three different complete Mazurka recordings of Rubinstein). There are few pianists that like Luisada know how to treat the piano as a truly polyphonic instrument, with absolute control of every line, and at the same time being able to emphasise every harmonic detail - giving every chord its differing and appropriate degree of tension. Furthermore he understands how to display the different moods and characters of the music. All these factors make Luisadas performances extremely colourful. Every Mazurka with Luisada is a unique experience.

Ps. Other recordings do occasionally wet the critical appetite: For instance the everywhere highly acclaimed Chopin recordings with Pollini are often musically awful, the Etudes opus 10 nr. 1 and opus 25 nr. 1 are examples. For the complete Etudes, buy Boris Berezovsky's recording for Teldec, it surpasses Pollini by far. Ds.
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38 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Patrik Lemberg on October 10, 2004
Format: Audio CD
In my opinion there is no more effective way to ruin a great musical performance than to record it in front of an audience who cannot control their coughs. The first disc starts out with a 1979 live recording of Chopin's first piano/orchestra concerto featuring pianist Krystian Zimerman and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. The performance is good, but doesn't allow the listener full concentration,--and therefore not full enjoyment--as a distracting and annoying audience can be heard coughing, sneezing, and clearing their throats even above the orchestra's playing in mezzo forte - it gets worse, of course, at dynamically quieter musical parts. Other distractions, like chairs creaking, cracking and squeaking, pages being turned probably inches away from a microphone (perhaps to give the page-turner a chance to say "Did you hear that? That was me,") and people stomping/dropping things (?) add to the incapability of the listener's full enjoyment. I've heard much worse, however, but considering that the recording technique is no older than 25 years, this is on the verge of being unacceptable. Sure - there can be a certain charm in hearing such "humanity" on a recording, especially when it's older, but I don't think many would disagree that this is a bit too much. Hearing the opening of piano/orchestra concerto no.2, and knowing that the 18+ hours of music to come aren't going to be interrupted by coughs, is a big relief. My favorite Chopin interpreter is--and might always be--Rubinstein; his playing is straight forward, he cuts to the chase quickly, yet somehow manages to leave room for sensitivity and emotion.Read more ›
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Holming on April 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I am a professional Pianist and Piano-pedagoge trained at the University of Graz and Vienna (Austria).
It seems as often reviewers/critics/listeners have the same opinions: I wonder if it isn't in some cases the old story of the Emperors new clothes - nobody dares to have a different opinion, as they do not want to appear stupid.
Some of the reviewers here, didn't like Luisadas performances of the Mazurkas. I hold the heretical opinion that Jean-Marc Luisadas performances are much better than Rubinsteins (I possess the three different complete Mazurka recordings of Rubinstein). There are few pianists that like Luisada know how to treat the piano as a truly polyphonic instrument, with absolute control of every line, and at the same time being able to emphasise every harmonic detail - giving every chord its differing and appropriate degree of tension. Furthermore he understands how to display the different moods and characters of the music. All these factors make Luisadas performances extremely colourful. Every Mazurka with Luisada is a unique experience.

Ps. Other recordings do occasionally wet the critical appetite: For instance the everywhere highly acclaimed Chopin recordings with Pollini are often musically awful, the Etudes opus 10 nr. 1 and opus 25 nr. 1 are examples. For the complete Etudes, buy Boris Berezovsky's recording for Teldec, it surpasses Pollini by far. Ds.
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