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Scott Noriega
Fanfare, May 2012

The performances here…are moving and profound.

Klemperer shapes the opening of the Chopin in a dignified manner, reveling in the passion of the young composer’s early statement, yet never losing the grandeur of the movement. Arrau is his equal; he is powerful, serious-minded, and has the technical capabilities to not only play the music, but to shape it as he sees fit. Chopin’s concerto…is played with such sincerity, such heartfelt conviction, every note counts. The final movement’s pianistic roulades and figurational patterns are handled with ease and assurance.

The Beethoven, recorded some half a decade later, merits equal attention. Christoph von Dohnányi is an equally inspired collaborator here as was Klemperer in the Chopin. In the current performance, perhaps especially, the feeling of the live performance makes all the difference. Whereas some of Arrau’s studio recordings of the work are good (if not great!), they often lack the energy and drive of this performance. Though Arrau has never been one of my all-time pianistic favorites, these performances show the best of which he was capable. The recordings here…are some of the best I’ve come across for this vintage recording. The sound is ever-present, fully balanced, and clear…I urge you to take a listen. You will not be disappointed. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, February 2012

Both are works well chosen to demonstrate Arrau’s great strengths and both were close to his musical heart, and part of his constant repertoire, untarnished by time.

Klemperer’s opening introduction is direct, sinewy and symphonic. His authoritative preparation for Arrau is magisterial in the extreme and the pianist responds with his usual bewitching array of tone colours and control of rubati. His playing of the slow movement is richly engaging but not at all limpid or inclined to frippery; there’s a sense of power in reserve, fully unleashed in the finale, which is dynamic, convincingly integrated and collaboratively successful. Here, too, Klemperer proves an ally, not at all a stylistic enemy.

The recording quality in the Funkhaus, Cologne is excellent, somewhat superior to the (still very good) Chopin broadcast. Arrau plays with huge distinction; poetic, controlled, the trills even and measured, powerful but also agitated, and leonine in the first movement cadenza. Credit, too, goes to Dohnányi and the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra…

Notwithstanding alternatives, the Klemperer-led Chopin makes this a very special acquisition for Arrau collectors. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Jed Distler, November 2011

Arrau is at the top of his game. His rich tone, ample rubatos, wide dynamic inflections, and ever-present left hand eschew surface symmetry and charm in favor of large-scale drama and paragraphic sweep. What is more, Arrau’s impeccable pianism displays a vibrancy and note-to-note continuity… Read complete review

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