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Chopin: Piano Concertos 1 & 2

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 13, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

The disc features new recordings of the Chopin concertos performed on period instruments, documenting two outstanding artistic moments in the festival Chopin and his Europe. Dang Thai Son, winner of the 10th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, is accompanied by Frans Brüggen's Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century--a legendary ensemble restoring to music its authentic sound.
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Franz Brüggen
  • Composer: F. Chopin
  • Audio CD (October 13, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 1-800 PRIME CD
  • ASIN: B0027OSS60
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,235 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on March 20, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is, I believe, the second to carry out the pair of concertos from Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) on an instrument of his time -- a mid-1800s Erard -- and backed up by a period orchestra, in this case the Orchestra of the 18th Century under Franz Bruggen. The first period peformance of Chopin's concertos was by Emanual Ax backed up by Charles Mackerras and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlghtenment about a decade ago.

As I recall (I don't own them anymore) Ax placed greater emphasis on poetry and imagination in his interpretation of the concertos and he was neither as memorable nor as sweeping as Dang Thai Son is here. Ax's instrument (an 1851 Erard) sounded a bit more like a modern grand piano in his usage, possibly becuase of the way he played it. Ax's recordings are stil available separately Chopin: Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor/Grand Fantasia/Grande Polonaise and Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in Em/ Variations, Op. 2, making their purchase inconvenient compared to this pairing.

This trio of internationally-acclaimed soloist (Dang), conductor (Bruggen) and orchestra have reinvented these concertos for the Chopin bicentennial. Indeed, the inside cover to this handsome pacakge says this is "the real Chopin." Dang, the 1980 Chopin Competition award winner, has a number of other Chopin recordings. Born Vietnam, Dang has built an international career around the solo piano music from the Polish composer.

Here, he and Bruggen collaborate in the two concertos, both recorded during concerts and complete with audience applause.
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Format: Audio CD
On 1st March 2010, the 'official' 200th birthday of Chopin, Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son and Frans Bruggen's 18th Century Orchestra were invited to perform Chopin's No. 2 Piano Concerto at Warsaw's special concert, together with Garrick Ohlsson and Yundi Li.
In 1980, Dang Thai Son and his conservatory colleague Ivo Pogorelich both entered the International Chopin Piano Competition at Warsaw. Pogorelich came out in the 3rd round under protest of Martha Argerich, on the panel of juries. Dang emerged as winner with three other major prizes, including 'best concerto performance'.
Pogorelich later recorded with DG the second concerto under the baton of Claudio Abbado to great critical acclaim. Dang's early release under the Victor label did not receive such attention. The present recording is Dang's more recent attempt in period instruments of these two concerti by Chopin.
Relatively fewer pianist excel at the No. 2 Concerto than the No. 1. I would say, however, that Mr. Dang excels at both, with marked distinction in the 2nd.
Being the college roommate of Pogorelich, I wonder if Dang and Pogo had not, during student days, rehearsed the No. 2 Concerto together multiple times. I for one would like to compare the two's No. 2.
Both versions are exceptionally fine, but on the whole, I opt for Dang's. Dang took far less liberties with the tempi of the various movements. His sense of structure is even better than Pogo as a result, though relatively speaking, Pogo already grasped the piece's structure quite well, and is clearly ahead of veterans like Tamas Vasary.
What I would like to draw on Dang's performance is his keen attention to detail and nuances, even within the strict framework that he's adopted.
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Format: Audio CD
Dang Thai Son, born in 1958, is the gold medallist of the 1980 Chopin International Piano Competition, as well as winner of the 'best Mazurka', 'best Polonaise' and 'best Concerto' performances.
He has not recorded for big labels, save one and only one for DG, and has since got out of print for a very long time.
The present recording was made in 2005; after quite a long while of absence from the discographic world by Mr. Dang, who has recorded all Chopin's solo and concerti pieces with Victor some decades ago.
Needless to say, such a legendary and low key pianist seldom receives the attention of the media. However, from his performances, Dang has again and again proved himself one of the very best interpretors of Chopin's works.
The two concerti here were played on a 1849 period pianoforte, and accompanied by Frans Bruggen's period ensemble the 18th Century ORchestra.
While I generally refrain from period performances, I find the present recording a highly successful collaboration. Dang and Bruggen are totally capable of striking the absolute musical balance between the solo and tutti passages. The period instruments bring out the contents of the pieces exceedingly well, and the recorded sound is never less than stunning throughout the entire disc.
Dang's No. 2 Concerto has to be heard to be believed. He has the absolute music sense to bring out Chopin's works to the best proportions as well as their fullest contents. His tonal shadings are always luscious; his strong sense of rhythm serves these 2 works well, especially the No. 2 Mazurka-like concerto. If the No.1 is more technically demanding, the No. 2 is more musically challenging. Big names like Askenazy, Argerich, Ax, Blechacz, Ohlsson, could not bring out the No. 2 to the extent as beauty as does Dang.
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