Customer Reviews


36 Reviews
5 star:
 (20)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply, breathtaking
Mr. Kissin's playing never fails to excite me. His playing, especially on this disc, has tremendous authority, energy, beauty and above all a sense of effortless. The preludes of Chopin may be short pieces but many of them are technically just as challenging as the Etudes. A few examples are the B flat minor and G sharp major. Kissin makes them sound easy with his...
Published on March 15, 2000 by jared

versus
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's the expressivity, stupid
What's happened to Kissin's playing lately has made me sad. Oh sure, he's still famous and packs them in, but his playing has become increasingly harsh, ugly and unfeeling. There isn't an ounce of poetry in these Preludes. Banging, yes, and lots of volume, but all the blood, sweat and tears don't produce much *music.* Cortot expended half the energy and got five times the...
Published on September 19, 2002 by The Man in the Hathaway Shirt


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply, breathtaking, March 15, 2000
By 
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
Mr. Kissin's playing never fails to excite me. His playing, especially on this disc, has tremendous authority, energy, beauty and above all a sense of effortless. The preludes of Chopin may be short pieces but many of them are technically just as challenging as the Etudes. A few examples are the B flat minor and G sharp major. Kissin makes them sound easy with his incedible technique. The rythmic drive is so intense in the G sharp that it makes your heart beat faster. If you want just purely beautiful poetic playing sample the F sharp or the heartwarming E flat. The sonata while not my favorite work is astonishing indeed. The scherzo is equally exciting and brilliant as Rubenstein's, just listen to the chromatic fourths to see what I mean. The finale is the freakiest I have ever heard, truly bone-chilling. Last but not least is the Polonaise. This performance makes it live up to its nickname as the "Heroic Polonaise". Truly excellent rythmic drive again ( except in the middle section with the left-hand octaves where I expected more fire, but I respect his choice not to get too wild here) making you feel like polonaising. An altogether excellent release with an equally excellent recording quality.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not as subtle as Rubenstein, but brilliant!, July 15, 2000
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
For those who are seeking to compare Kissin's Chopin Preludes to the recordings of Rubenstein or Horowitz, FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS! Kissin takes a much more highly percussive approach to these works than the pianists of former times. Certainly, Chopin's piano was not capable of producing many of Kissin's bombastic effects, but when viewed in a "non-purist" light, this recording is quite electrifying and pleasing. However, it is a new painting of Chopin's notes that does not hold up to being an "HIP" or interpretation according to the composer's intentions. However, it is a brave, bold rendering of music from a century and a half ago. Kissin is undoubetedly one of our century's finest pianists, but it is a miracle that no hammers or stings broke during the recording of these Chopin Preludes! If the listener can accept a highly unique approach to traditional literature, then this CD will be greatly appreciated. But if you cherish subtlety, keep looking! Personally, I loved this CD!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's the expressivity, stupid, September 19, 2002
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
What's happened to Kissin's playing lately has made me sad. Oh sure, he's still famous and packs them in, but his playing has become increasingly harsh, ugly and unfeeling. There isn't an ounce of poetry in these Preludes. Banging, yes, and lots of volume, but all the blood, sweat and tears don't produce much *music.* Cortot expended half the energy and got five times the results.
For example, the First Prelude has clumsy and heavy phrasing. It sounded to me like a first year piano student learning how to "feel" the music for the first time, only of course Kissin has more technique than any first year student. The Second prelude bears far too much weight and pathos. Kissin gives it the gravity of the finale of the Tchaikovsky Pathetique Symphony--and it can't really withstand it and turns out distended. (And this from someone who *likes* a player such as Ugorski!) The Third is all speed and no charm, and someone has to teach Kissin what leggieramente means. The Fourth is hampered--as are many including the "Raindrop"--by monotonous rhythmic regularity. Some pianists can really shade and color works like these. Not here. Yet I enjoyed some of Kissin's earlier discs (the Carenegie Hall recitals) so much, compared with this.
The Sonata is much the same, and I won't go into details for danger of repeating myself. Except to say the Funeral March really drives my point home: Kissin bangs hard. He gives you deep, black bass notes. But Rubinstein, with less effort, is more frightening, more about *death.*
The biggest disaster is the unfelt, undramatic encore piece, the famous Polonaise, Op. 53. No charm, no excitement, nothing but lots of loud, steely notes and excessive technique. Yo, Gene, you're not playing the Hammerklavier Sonata here. Virtuosity takes a back seat to expression. And in Kissin's hands, all these pieces turn out to be about virtuosity. No argument that he has it, that he can dazzle, but it's not enough, and the disc comes off as shallow.
For better Preludes, try Arrau (both Philips and Decca, if you can find that latter), Moravec, Cortot (1926), Sofronitsky, Pogorelic, heck, even Kapell (for the Sonata, one of his last performances, I believe).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Turning the Chopin 2nd Sonata into the "Appassionata", November 8, 2005
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
In their different ways, both Pollini and Kissin play Chopin's big works, like the Second Sonata, as if they were Beethoven. On this CD Kissin enlarges the frame of the sonata to fit the Appassionata--and I excitedly went along. Carpers should remember that Horowitz distorted Chopin far more than Kissin ever could. RCA's inside-the-lid piano sound is unrealistic but adds to the thrill. Passage work like this can be heard only once in a lifetime. Five stars.

But the Preludes are another story. The world was once entirely on Kissin's side. Ten years ago he was considered an insightful, sympathetic Chopin interpreter who had a marvelous sense of touch to go with his world-dominating technique. (The evidence of his instinctive gifts is there from a Tokyo recital on Sony, made when Kissin was fifteen.) I don't hear that inspired interpreter in these Preludes, which despite dazzling moments are often clumsy and coarse. No more than anyone else do I know the reason for this change. We will have to hope that this adored artist steps back from the precipice of showmanship and begins to play with his heart once again. Three stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More excelent Chopin from Kissin, April 6, 2000
By 
Alex Serrano (Perrysburg, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
Evgeny Kissin has devoted quite a few discs on this label to the music of Chopin. And even though i prefer the spontaneous playing of his live recitals, his latest two releases of the Chopin Ballades and now the Preludes with the Second sonata are simply excelent. This cd in particular shows Kissin as not only a virtuoso of the highest caliber, but also new insights into Chopin. I found most particularily impressing the performance of the sonata - full of passion, angst, and drama it makes an enormous case against the common image of the weakly composer. The final movement, as played by Kissin, finaly finds true sustain for for the image of "wind sweeping across a graveyard" - such is the brilliant use of pedaling displayed in this performance. The polonaise is a little dissapointing - i just was not able able to find any dancing here. The preludes are performed as almost separate entities within the group they form - but i found no fault here. Each is played with great care and attention to detail and Kissin truly delivers us these miniatures as the sudden rushes of inspiration each must have been to Chopin. An overall illuminating recital - played with intensity and brilliance like no other performer dares today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the poetry?, February 8, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
I'd have to say I'm sorry I got this one. My listening has concentrated on the preludes, which are the most distinctive works composed by Chopin. There's no denying that Kissin has awsome technique, but I was acutely disappointed at these performances. The rhythms are often warped in an unmusical way, eighth notes grouped in clusters that don't correspond to their musical meaning. The tempos are consistently fast, the rubato absent or unnatural. There's a wirey tone to the (big) piano sound. Overall, I found these performances lacking in depth, in understanding, in soul. I listened to two recordings of the preludes in tandem. The other one, by Ivan Moravec, is 35 years old but sounds better and is oh so much more lovely.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting pianism., January 19, 2005
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
This third Kissen Chopin recital to be issued certainly provides some exciting pianism. It is hard to imagine how ten fingers can be coordinated to produce the rippling effects in Prelude 3, the whirlwinds in Prelude 8, the headlong galloping in Prelude 16, and the terrifying swirl of sound in the Sonatas's finale. It is also hard to imagine how much one would need to pay in order to sit in such close proximity to the piano as it is recorded here. Never have I heard the three repeated notes at the bottom end of the keyboard sound as powerful as they do at the close of Prelude 24.

Chopin offers much more than opportunities for technical display, however, and few of these additional components are evident here. The tears below the surface of Prelude 4 are disregarded, the cantilena of Prelude 6 is more mechanical than vocal, and the Sonata's Scherzo is rushed rather than refined. Most successful is the Sonata's "Funeral March" - something I thought I never wanted to hear again. Perhaps the enforced slow tempo allows Chopin's voice to come through.

The engineers have captured the tension and excitement of Kissen's performances, but I am not sure that he has captured the essential refinement and eminently patrician qualities that typify Chopin's music.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius, March 11, 2000
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
Does anyone have better technique? No. Is anyone more musically gifted in Chopin? Possibly Rubinstein , but he is long dead . So no.
In my opinion he is clearly the most gifted pianist since Liszt. This disc is tangible and unequivocal proof thereof. Simply listen to the Polonaise , a piece which he played remarkably as an encore in the Proms last year.... the poise , the excitement . Here we have a pianist who truly understands the music, and , moreover he has the technical capacity (which exceeds any pianist this century) to exercise the virtuosity which this piece is crying out for. At only 28 , I think it is safe to say that he is the greatest pianist at the relative point in his career ( in other words , a Hoffman who actually lived up to his reputation in maturity). This disc like any other he has done is a must buy. Incidentally , before I forget can I take this opportunity to recommend his recording ( when he was a mere 21 yrs old ) of Rachmaninovs 3rd piano concerto ..... its live faultless , musically astonishing and above all it captures the electric atmosphere which the Boston audience engenders. By far the greatest recording of this piece.......ENJOY........
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chopin the way he should be played, April 30, 2000
By 
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
Kissin brings a new perspective of Chopin, one that is rare. These works of Chopin are some of his most nebulous, particularly the second sonata. Kissin plays with a frenetic passion that is truly amazing. His treatment of the sonata is the best I have heard, and that includes Rubenstein and Pollini. And the Polonaise and Preludes are on par with Argerich. All of these works require a performer of great passion and stamina. Kissin continues to be the ultimate performer of Chopin today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's Kissin. There are 100 times better accounts., May 30, 2000
By 
This review is from: Chopin: 24 Preludes,Op. 28 / Sonata for Piano No. 2,Op. 35 / Polonaise,Op. 53 (Audio CD)
Grammophone magazine rated this CD very low, and I agree with them completely. I can't understand why all other reviewers here in Amazon rate all Kissin's CD's to the top. First of all, a hint to everybody: Before you buy Kissin's Chopin CD, listen to it. And ALSO LISTEN to Alfred Cortot's and Artur Rubinstein's accounts of these pieces. If someone after that thinks that Kissin is best, I'll stay quiet. It's just the fact that Cortot is a legacy and his account of the Preludes are still incomparable, though the recording is not the best because of the recording date. Kissin is a child prodigy, whose career has now started to turn down, as I have expected. I'm having a feeling, that people who hate tape hiss and wrong notes and understand nothing of the emotion, feeling and Golden Age of pianists, will buy Kissin's CD. But everyone should listen to Cortot and other "good old" pianists, and then make their choice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.