Chopin Concerto No.1 Brailowsky & Steinberg (ca.1952) (I)

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(Transferred from LP) Alexander Brailowsky & RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, under William Steinberg plays Chopin Concerto No.1 in E minor, op.11, composed in 1830, premiered on 11 October same year; dedicated to Friedrich Kalkbrenner.

- Allegro maestoso
Part I :
Part II :

- Romance - Larghetto
Part III :

- Rondo - Vivace
Part IV :

Before his emigration to Paris in 1831 Chopin had composed six works for piano and orchestra (but nothing orchestral after those), including two concertos published in reverse order. The E minor was issued in 1833, the F minor "Second" in 1836 although Chopin composed it in 1829. Both reflect his infatuation with Vincenzo Bellini's operas, especially Norma.


GRAMOPHONE January 1953 issue reviews Brailowsky / Steinberg recording :

() Mr. Alexander Brailowsky is a fine bravura pianist. The measure of his performance may be stated in the comment that he plays the development sections and the decorative passages better than he does the plain announcements of the subjects. He is a masculine and modernistic interpreter of Chopin, and his finger-work, though always clean and brilliant, tends towards the noisy.

In the cantilena passages, he gives us a good singing quality of tone. For all his magnificent technique, Mr. Brailowsky does not appear to me to have the same love of the keyboard that Chopin had; he operates it superbly, but he does not caress it. It is perhaps not a criticism of the pianist to say that he and I have totally different views on what Chopin, with his little piano, meant by delicatissimo, leggierissimo and legatissimo, especially the former two.

The orchestral playing is adequate and not really noticeable until the second side; here I cannot quite approve of the attacca lead in from the Romance to the Rondo, which upsets the soloists rhythm in the announcement of the new theme. And later in the movement, in the A major passage, the ensemble totters a little nervously without quite toppling over. The tone of the woodwind is particularly pleasing all through this recording. / H.F.


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