7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Chopin's Opus 11 performed by the young Pollini,
This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1; 4 Nocturnes; Ballade No. 1; Polonaise No. 6 (Audio CD)
This review is my celebration of two anniversaries. Composer Frederic Chopin was born 200 years ago, and this recording was made 50 years ago today.
Chopin's piano concerto in F minor op 11, while carrying the number 1, was actually his second piano concerto. In any case it has always been my favorite of the two. The first maovement (allegro maestoso risoluto) contains a lenghthy (four minutes here) orchestral introduction and is by far the longest of the movements. This is followed by a lovely larghetto romance, inspired apparently by Chopin's love for a singer. What a movement. The highlight of the concerto.
I think the bassoon counter melody (if that is what it is called) is one of the most wonderful moments for this instrument in all of classical music. The concerto concludes with a sprightly rondo.
The soloist, Maurizio Pollini, was at the beginning of what turned out to be a very distinguished career when he made this record on April 20, 1960 at the age of 18. He was the winner of that year's Warsaw Chopin competition and is accompanied here by the Philharmonia Orchestra directed by Paul Kletzki. I acquired the Seraphim LP version a few years after it came out and have alwys admired it; it's been my favorite recorded interpretation of the work. Notice I did not say the "best" version, for I don't believe it is possible or wise to say that. The other versions that I have especially enjoyed over the years are: both of Zimerman's two quite different recordings on DG; Perahia/Mehta on Sony; and Kern/Wit on Harmonia Mundi.
So we have a splendid performance by an 18 year old pianist of a concerto written by a 19 year old composer. Definitely one of EMI's "Great Recordings of the Century". The CD also includes four Chopin nocturnes, a ballade, and a polonaise. I highly recommend it.
Tim Koerner April 2010