Schubert's Impromptus - who should I be listening to?
November 18, 2013 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Falling hard for both Schubert's Impromptus and Chopin's Nocturnes. Who are the best players, what recordings are essential to own?

Would also love any further recommendations for this style of gorgeous, wandering, stunning, and occasionally dark classical music with best recordings, etc.
posted by Lipstick Thespian to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I bought Simone Dinnerstein's new recording, Something Almost Being Said, because I love her Bach playing, and fell in love with the Impromptus that are on the same recording. I had never heard them before, and followed up by buying Brendel's complete recording to get the other impromptus. I don't know if these are considered essential by critics, but I personally have been enjoying them greatly (especially the former, which is in heavy rotation in my car). I will be watching the other answers in this thread with interest.
posted by matildaben at 4:22 PM on November 18, 2013

This is a tough one. I guess personally I kind of like the Barenboim recording. But almost every famous pianist has a recording of the Nocturnes - Horowitz, Rubenstein, Ashkenazy. I'm not crazy about Barenboim as a dude, but the Chopin recordings on Deutsche Grammaphone are really great.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:30 PM on November 18, 2013

I listen to Maurizio Pollini's version of Nocturnes almost nightly. He plays with a delicacy that takes my breath away.
posted by chatongriffes at 4:34 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For Schubert, I'm partial to Alfred Brendel for the impromptus - be sure to give a listen to his interpretation of Op. 90/3.

For Chopin's Nocturnes I turn to Claude Arrau. Or maybe Weissenberg. Or Richter. It depends.

Frankly, I'd recommend listening to several different recordings and choosing what you like. There's no such thing as an objective "best" with this music.

(also, if you're looking for similar music, check out Scriabin - his later works can be pretty difficult and atonal, but the early stuff has strong Chopin influences. Try Pletnev, Horowitz, Pogorelich, or Richter for Scriabin recordings.)
posted by Wemmick at 5:16 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm not a big fan of Chopin generally, but I was just listening to Nadia Reisenberg's Chopin Treasury earlier today. She's got a very light touch, and brings a bit of humour in, I think.
Also today, I listened to Alfred Brendel's version of Schubert's Klavierstuck 946/2 and 3... For most other Schubert I prefer Pollini, but Brendel's ferocity plays perfectly with 946/2.
Additional Schubert to consider: The Four Handers. My favorite recordings are Tal and Groethuysen.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:38 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I play a fair number of Chopin's compositions, and Artur Rubinstein has always been to standard to which I aspired. For me, Rubinstein seems to strike the perfect balance of emotion and faithfulness to the music. With some performers, I feel like they're trying to show me how great they are- with Rubinstein, I feel like he's showing me how great Chopin was.

Chopin's Nocturnes by Rubinstein, via Amazon

You might also like Chopin's sonatas- here's a sample, one of my favorites. Make sure you stick with it at least to 2:30 in.
posted by EKStickland at 10:29 PM on November 18, 2013

For the Nocturnes, go with Ivan Moravec. His Nocturnes are almost muscular, with none of the schmaltz or saccharinity that infects a lot of Chopin recordings. And consider listening to his recording of the Preludes too.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 11:51 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rubenstein or Ashkenazy for Chopin. Brendel for Schubert.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 1:07 AM on November 19, 2013

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