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Discussion: Chopin: The 2 Piano Concertos - Sa Chen, Lawrence Foster

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Post by terence November 7, 2008 (1 of 15)
what is on the DVD which the listing here says is included?

Post by nickc November 7, 2008 (2 of 15)
terence said:

what is on the DVD which the listing here says is included?

Hi Terence
there is a 20 minute interview with James Jolly - pretty standard fare - and an absolutely lovely performance of the adagio of No.1. - put it on and I swear it will bring a tear to the eye.
Interestingly it is in stereo - I assume it would have cost licensing fees to use DTS etc.
Best wishes
Nick
BTW on the SACD the piano sound is some of the best I've ever heard - performances excellent as well - well worth buying.

Post by terence November 9, 2008 (3 of 15)
thanks nickc - i'm put off buying only by PN's references to "elongation of phrase ends" as a possible sticking point. would you have any comment on this? are there mannerisms that might irritate?

Post by nickc November 9, 2008 (4 of 15)
terence said:

thanks nickc - i'm put off buying only by PN's references to "elongation of phrase ends" as a possible sticking point. would you have any comment on this? are there mannerisms that might irritate?

No don't worry about that - would it compare to Perahia in 1 or Ashkenazy in 2? I don't know but it is fantastic playing, great sound - grab it!
N

Post by terence November 9, 2008 (5 of 15)
OK i will! thanks again.

Post by Johnno November 10, 2008 (6 of 15)
I thought this performance of the Adagio from the E minor concerto from both pianist and conductor was most sympathetically done I shall definitely be buying the SACD. I hope the SACD sampler that accompanies the November "Gramophone" and which features the excerpt gets people motivated to consider buying an SACD player. My concern it that this will be a "one off" event and that there won't be any follow-ups in the way of regular reviews of the sonic qualities of the SACD layers of hybrids in future issues of the magazine.

I hope I'm wrong.

Post by terence November 10, 2008 (7 of 15)
hi johnno i guess the one problem is that the people who might like sampling the 5.1 layer won't actually have the equipment to play the gramo sampler in the first place. still, i applaud them for producing it.

thanks for chopin comments too.

Post by hiredfox November 10, 2008 (8 of 15)
The definitive versions of the concerti were recorded back in the 1960's by Maurizo Pollini and have never been surpassed. Some of his poignant phrasing reduces the listener to tears. Like many new recordings, the Pentatone is spectacular on recording quality but although this can be attractive, should not be confused with sympathetic interpretation. Many young modern pianists who seem technically perfect are just typing the notes into their keyboards without a lot of expression.

Post by ramesh November 10, 2008 (9 of 15)
I don't believe Pollini ever recorded the Chopin Concerto No 2. The EMI CD transfers of his sublime First have a dull sound : I'm still waiting for EMI Toshiba to issue a decent transfer in Japan, which should be on par with their previous vast improvements on EMI UK's efforts. The Perahia version of No1 with Mehta has the usual drawbacks of early digital sound, and unsubtle accompaniment from Mehta and the IPO.

The SACD with Rubinstein's early stereo performances have this artist's customary almost peerless insight into Chopin, but the Second suffers from a couple of cuts [ not a transfer flaw-- the artists recorded it this way ].

The excerpt of this PentaTone SACD in the 'Gramophone' sampler sounds pretty decent, bar some rather studied phrase taperings, as has been noted earlier. To me, it's completely self defeating to complain that the artists aren't on a par with the best of the past. If this is the case, any company producing SACDs might as well give up on most modern artists. Nobody would buy anything if it didn't meet their most exacting standards and we wouldn't have any new SACDs. THis, of course, will lead to a self-validating prophecy for the complainers-- if no modern company supports up-and-coming musicians there will be zero chance of anybody scaling the heights of the past.

Post by terence November 10, 2008 (10 of 15)
i listened to the gramo excerpt and sadly find PN's words of caution in his review well-founded - what IS the soloist doing injecting long pauses at phrase-ends so randomly (something that foster has to go along with)? they rob the music of the flow it needs in my opinion - it's just not joined-up musical thinking. the movement virtually stops dead on a couple of occasions.

also, i find the soloist's way with arpeggios and decorations much too studied and deliberate, emphasising and spreading them out in a way which to my mind defeats their expressive purpose. again it's just too emphatic, italicising or capitalising points that really don't need it.

i'm keenly aware i've only listened to 6 minutes of the performance, but these mannerisms are enough to tell me i couldn't live with it interpretatively.

a shame - the sound is really excellent.

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