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Chopin: The Four Ballades; Berceuse Op. 57; Barcarolle Op. 60; Scherzo No. 4, Op. 54 ()

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Evgeny Kissin has been accused of being a bland interpreter in recent years. True, his Prokofiev First and Third (DG) was guilty of a rather smooth perfectionism, the kind of deft pianism you admire--while you're reading the paper. But at least his last two releases on RCA, this Chopin disc and a brilliant Schumann one earlier this year, are anything but bland. Here, Kissin plays Chopin with dynamics and accenting more than vaguely reminiscent of Horowitz at his best. He displays far better control, in fact, of forte markings and of rubato than the often self-possessed Horowitz usually did.The Four Ballades have drawn the attention of so many great pianists in so many truly great performances; it's difficult to compile a list of favorites: Rubinstein (RCA), Ashkenazy (London), and Zimerman (DG) are just a few. Kissin's account must now be ranked among the best. In fact, if I had to select one set of the four Ballades, it would be this one. His renditions of the First and Third are hands-down winners.... Hide synopsis

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