, December 2010
The 2005 compilation The Very Best of Chopin draws on Turkish pianist Idil Biret’s prize-winning recordings of the complete solo piano works and concertos of Frédéric Chopin for the Naxos label done in the 1990s. Biret is an extremely talented musician who drew praise from Emil Gilels and Wilhelm Kempff as a young performer. Her affinity for Chopin’s music won her high honors in Chopin’s homeland. What’s included here are the most beloved of Chopin’s works, played with thorough musicianship by Biret, from the flowing Barcarolle to the carefree “Minute” Waltz, Op. 64/1, or Mazurka in D major, Op. 33/2, to the patriotism of the “Héroic” Polonaise, Op. 53. Her sensitive phrasing and touch highlight the slow movement from each of the piano concertos. Also included are the sparkling Grand Polonaise for piano and orchestra, Op. 22, and the Funeral March from the Piano Sonata No. 2. Also, fitting in nicely with Biret’s perceptive interpretations and another of Chopin’s lyrical treasures is the Largo from the Cello Sonata, Op. 65, performed by Maria Kliegel and Bernd Glemser. All in all, this album is a great choice for an introduction to the music of Chopin.