Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2, etc./Nebolsin

Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 8

Sound Quality: 7

While not the most impassioned and poetic reading of Chopin’s F minor concerto to be had, there’s much to be said for Eldar Nebolsin’s forthright delivery of the solo part. I’m particularly struck by how he tends to take decorative passages more-or-less in tempo, making expressive points mainly through dynamic gradations and shifts in articulation (the Allegretto vivace’s main theme and the Maestoso’s second subject, for example). However, the pianist’s finest work occurs in the incisively characterized Là ci darem la mano variations and the languid yet beautifully spun out Andante spianato. Unfortunately, a harsh, blurry recording quality lessens whatever impact Antoni Wit and his splendid Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra may have made aside from the microphones, while by contrast, Nebolsin’s closely miked piano seems to inhabit a different acoustic. Incidentally, this recording of the F minor concerto purports to be the first to use the new Polish National Chopin Edition, yet the annotations discuss nothing about what the text entails, nor what distinguishes it from its predecessors.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Op. 21: Argerich (EMI), Perahia (Sony)

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN - Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor Op. 21; Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" from Mozart's Don Giovanni Op. 2; Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante in E-flat major Op. 22

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