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FREDERIC CHOPIN - PIANO CONCERTOS 1 & 2 - KRYSTIAN ZIMERMAN (Piano) - POLISH FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA - 028945968421 - Deutsche Grammophon 4596842

This is a Gramophone award winner for very good reasons. Everything about this recording is first rate. The beautifully shaped and exquisite piano playing of Zimerman and the top-notch playing from the orchestral players, which by the way were assembled together by Zimerman himself specifically for this project. Intensive rehearsals and concerts took place before setting everything down on this awesome recording.

The pace is a bit slower than usual for these concertos, but the flow and momentum created by Zimerman's amazing flexible phrasing of each melodic line pushes the music along very naturally. The piano sound could not be better for this music, especially in both slow movements where the slightest and most minute nuances from note to note are so important to showcase the lyricism in this music.

Before this recording came out, I had always considered Chopin's orchestral writing for these concertos to be rather bland and academic, even detached from the piano, but somehow this orchestra seems to have found more substance there and provide an effective contrast to the piano, which creates a better overall coherence and sense of direction. Bravo!

Jean-Yves Duperron