Recommended Recordings

Welcome! This is where you can contribute to my homepage. Although a dedicated Chopin fanatic, I do not have an extensive collection of Chopin recordings by various performers. I'll get to that later, I suppose. However, I know that many serious Chopin fans like to know about different recordings and artists. Therefore, I will endeavor to compile a list of recommended recordings that my visitors may contribute. I am interested in newer as well as historic recordings. As well as listing great performances, I would like to tell my visitors why these recommendations are unique or important. These reasons may include famous or historical performances, recordings of renowned (living or dead) Chopin performers, recordings with a unique twist or quality about them, or simply your personal favorites. So I would love to hear from you! Tell me about your favorite recordings and what makes them so special, and I will do my best to include them here. Thank you very much for your help, and I hope you enjoy this page! - Brian Bachelder

- #0. indicates my favorite or only copy -


0. Walter Klien (label?) (date 60's- 70's?) (analogue) I have an old, cheap CD with Klien playing the Preludes. It is analogue, and I assume recorded in the 60s or 70s. Although the sound quality is not so good, I find his performance wonderful. It is not played too fast, and does not include excessive rubato (a pet-peave of mine.) The Preludes are so inherently poetic that recordings of them can become too personalized. I find this CD to be very balanced in terms of expression, tempo, rubato, etc.

1.  Preludes: Adam Harasiewicz (who you'll see me reference repeatedly).. his playing is incredibly refined, technically perfect, and absolutely astoundingly imaginative. Original and well-thought-out, I find new aspects in them every time I listen. Each prelude defines a specific mood very well, and I find that you can almost name them, they are so personal. I have heard critique that his piano sound is too cold, but I instead find it warm, inviting, and soft: able to express passion and excitement,
fury and anger quite easily, even at high volume. Easily found on the Philips Duo CD with the complete Nocturnes (to be discussed later). His hallmark piece, the Prelude Op. 45 in C#m is all at once: memorably haunting, beautiful, tender, tragic, exuberant, and defiant in a sad way. It's worth the price just to listen to the incredible crescendo of the cadenza and the delicate smothering of the end. - Evan Stephens


0. John Browning, RCA Victorola, 1968 (analogue) This CD is astonishingly clear and colorful for such an old recording. Probably the best feature of this recording is the remarkable timbre of the piano. It is both very bright and very well-aged (full, rich sonorities). Although I feel many of the Etudes to be played a little too fast here, the playing is passionate and very thoughtful. Does not include Trois Nouvelles Etudes.

1. The best recording of Chopin's Etudes I've ever heard in my life is by the great Murrizio Pollini. The clarity and precision are astounding, and the sensitivity is magnificent. I highly recommend it. - Anonymous

2. Etudes: As the Harasiewicz LP of the Etudes is still coming to me in the mail, I have to choose either the 1957 EMI Claudio Arrau recording or the 1934 EMI Alfred Cortot recording. The Arrau is extremely balanced (at all times you can discern the left hand from the right, and hear the melodies in each; never muddy or forced), and his interpretation is sensitive and keen. He depicts a wide variety of emotion, and makes them sound quite easy. My personal favorite etude, the 24th in Cm, is played by him best: fortissimo and passionate, full and warm, with haunting echoes and virtostic arpeggios. Absolutely furious and turbulent. His Winter Wind etude, with the aforementioned balance, was a joy to hear, and is my personal favorite. The Cortot is absolutely tremendous in technique and scope. His Revolutionary Etude is menacing and truly revolutionary. His 14th etude, in Fm, is breathtakingly fast, and sets a very sharp mood and tone. The technical challenges do not seem to be any problem at any time. The only drawback is that his playing is often uneven, and the old recordings can be muddy and somewhat distorted.- Evan Stephens

3. I recently came across a pianist of whom I have recently heard little:  Janina Fialkowska, a member of the Canadian association "Piano Six" (along with, for example, Jon Kimura Parker, Angela Cheng...).  I heard her in performance, and immediately bought her recording of the Chopin Etudes.  This recording is definitely one of the most refreshing I have come across, right from the outset of Opus 10 No.1.  The technique displayed is crisp and masterful.  Highly recomended. - John Slade

4. For me, the best recording of both sets is Pollini´s, but it is really regretable that the great recordings by Horowitz could not be extended for the complete series. His opp. 10 (nos. 3, 5, 8 and 12) are masterpieces of pianism. - Henrique Bente
Porto Alegre - Brazil

5. I was surprised not find, among your recommended recordings of the Etudes, those of Maurizio Pollini, on the Grammophon label. They are by far the best I have ever heard. The only lapse is in Op. 10 No. 12 in c, which I find to be flat, uninsired, and hastened. But pay close attention to the fingerwork in Op. 10 No. 2 in a; also, notice that Pollini is able to reach the tempi which Chopin intended (Op. 25 No. 4? in a) , and even Rubinstein couldn't maintain. George Conn

6. Ohlsson's Etudes...Listen to them, they are like sparkling or muted jems. Since they are etudes, lets get the technique out of the way. His technique is so secure that he is able to make gorgeous music out of them. A pianist friend of mine said that
some of them sounded like art songs with fabulous technique flying around. The "Winter Wind", "Oceanic" are huge. The f min.3 against 2 (or 6 against 4) absolutely floats. The "Revolutionary" sounds like just that - its fiendish! And the octave one screams. I agree with the Boston critic - they are the finest recording of the Etudes, period. -

7. Please check out Ohlsson's new Chopin Etude recording. I agree with you about Browning's recording. But as a pianist myself, I am still, after the tenth or fifteenth listening, astonished at the brilliance,technical ease and the intensity of some of them. They are almost visually a palate of gorgeous colors. The dynamic shading is so controlled in some of the most fiendishly difficult that they become beautiful pieces of music - they are very free. Please treat yourself to this performance of these 'studies'. - Robert Delatte


0. Fuo Ts'ong, Sony Essential Classics, 1978/1980 (Double CD- complete) (analogue) Another outstanding analogue recording. The piano is dark and very rich, (yet clear) - well suited for the Nocturnes. Again, maybe played a little too fast at times, this is nonetheless a wonderful CD set. Ts'ong conveys the poetry and mystery of the Nocturnes very effectively. Ts'ong's interpretation is, I would say, "aggressive" - fast at times, intense, and very passionate. A very satisfying CD set.

1. I must recommend Sandor Falvay's recordings of the Nocturnes. Although this CD from Lydian is only a selection, his playing style is extremely pure and brings out the fully range of colors that Chopin attempts to blend in these works. Another great interpretation is by Ivan Moravec, one of my all time favorite concert pianists. In many of the Nocturnes his interpretation offers quite an original perspective. Falvay demonstrates an intelligence and sophistication in his style that is sometimes lacking in the thunderous and flashy playing of Szekely. - Ken Evans - keevans@Orion.AC.HMC.Edu

2. Artur Rubinstein, who is regarded with reason as the world's greatest all-around Chopin interpreter. But for me, he's at his absolute best in the Barcarolle (no one else sustains the rocking rhythm of that gondola like Rubinstein), the Nocturnes (amazingly sensitive phrasing and coloring, yet with an beautifully eloquent and cogent logic) and the Mazurkas. Thomas Travisano

3. Nocturnes: Adam Harasiewicz provides the best complete Nocturnes I have yet heard. After listening to the raw dramaticism of Horowitz, the cold majesty of Pollini, the fire and ice of Argerich, the soft passion of Rubenstein, the technical wizardry f Askenazy, I was quite pleased to see all these elements, and many more, reconciled into one set. Harasiewicz play excellent night music: sometimes he has me believe that he even recorded them in the dark. From the haunting opening of the first Nocturne, to the quiet and delicate tragedy of the last, Posthumous, Nocturnes, I was amazed by what I heard. The C#m is both serene and raging, and before the C# octaves after the opening
statement, if you turn the stereo up high, you can even hear him sigh! All his playing is balanced, and at all times you can make out both left and right hands: he does innovative things with each. Often lyrical, occasionally utilizing rubato, it is constantly outstanding and extraordinary. (Of course) Best played at night, they have great contrast and drama when appropriate. My ultimate nocturnes. Paired with the Complete Preludes. -  Evan Stephens

4. Although I do not regard Rubinstein as an unbeatable reference, his recording of the Nocturnes is amazingly clear and sensitive - the best one, it is. - Henrique Bente - Porto Alegre - Brazil -

5. Nocturnes: Alexander Brailowsky. Brailowsky somehow, magically merges the balanced structure and dynamics of Mozart with the melody and freedom inherent to the Nocturnes . -Evan Stephens,


0. Istvan Szekely, Lydian/Naxos, 1987 (digital) I have a lot by this guy because, well, it's cheap! ($3.00 in the U.S.!) However, I have grown quite fond of this remarkable performer. I've never heard more bravura or technical wizardry (he's especially good with the pedals). Szekely is the most "aggressive" performer that I am aware of. But if that's what you like (or are in the mood for), he's your guy. Szekely displays more patience than usual here, however. The "lighter" Waltzes are sparkling, the more serious, artistic Waltzes are played with great care and feeling. As always with his Lydian work, the piano is very bright and astonishingly clear. Sonic quality is unsurpassable.

1.  Waltzes: Individually, I'll recommend Harasiewicz or Rachmaninoff (oh, that Em Op. Post waltz... *sigh*) anytime, but as a complete collection, it's hard to beat the great Geza Anda. His waltzes often transcend their title and become nocturnes or even polonaise-like, and his playing is very sensitive and thought-provoking. Sometimes fiery, sometime lyrically lugubrious, sometimes almost a chant, sometimes excited and rapid, always interesting. Mostly known for his Mozart, Anda excels at Chopin. His piano sound is clear and bell-like, well defined by the engineers on RCA that put out the CD. His interpretation is intelligent in that it avoids being a composite of famous earlier recordings, and maintains a constant originality. Available at a bargain price, a very commendable CD. - Evan Stephens

2. There is a great recording by a Brazilian pianist, Antonio Guedes Barbosa, friend of Horowitz and pupil of Arrau. His playing is technically perfect and virtuosistical, and I think that he achieves the adequate balance between fireworking and intimacy. - Henrique Bente - Porto Alegre - Brazil -

3. Waltzes: Geza Anda: The recordings were Anda's last. A Mozartian throughout his career, his sparking tone and deep focus makes each piece very attractive as well as superlatively smart. The haunting A minor walse is, to my ears, the most beautiful and elegiac rendition in modern memory. -Evan Stephens,


0. Istvan Szekely, Lydian/Naxos, 1987 (digital) CD includes Sonatas #2 and #3, along with Barcarolle, Berceuse, and the Fantasy-Impromptu. Again, the playing is aggressive and very intense, but this style might be more effective for these towering works. Szekely plays with great enunciation considering how fast he plays. Szekely knows, however, when to play with care and feeling (during the slower parts). This CD is indispensable as an electrifying, bravura performance of the last two, great Sonatas.

1. I have heard a new recording by Leif Ove Andsnes of the 3rd Sonata... it really seemed to be a nice counterpoint to Argerich's recording, which I regard as the ultimate in headlong, take-no-prisoners virtuosity. Andsnes' recording seems informed by the phrase structures of the music, and thus has fewer places where you are deluged with sheer sound. - Mike Coldewey

2. Sonatas: A quick recommendation to Garrick Ohlsson and Jerome Rose for playing the very rare 1st Sonata, and doing fines jobs on them. Ohlsson can be heard on his usual Arabesque recording, and Rose on Infinity Digital, both playing the complete Sonatas, both quite well: Ohlsson laudably excels on the 3rd. The best 2nd Sonata is again Harasiewicz. The low knell of the opening, followed by the savage rhythm of the left hand, while the right hand plays the almost ghost-like melody with the help of some amazing pedal usage. The 2nd movement seems unstoppable in its motion and movement: breathtakingly so! I have yet to hear such a beautiful Funeral March. The clarity of each tragic note, the outrage and declaration of force in the descending sequence of the opening, the gorgeous, bell-like tones of the 2nd statement and major sequence. The whirlwind furor of the 4th movement, which reminds me of winds blowing over graves, the incredible final chords like the statement of death itself. A nice touch: when the final chords are resonating, Harasiewicz's left hand's notes ring clearer and louder, a nice effect. William Kappell's 3rd Sonata is stunning in its virtuosity, its vision, and its clarity, even for the age of the recording! The crashing opening of the finale is amazing, and the sparkling 2nd movement is wonderful. I would recommend this to anyone. - Evan Stephens

3. Regarding the 2nd, I have to mention Horowitz, again, but my favorite is Argerich´s: her finale is overwhelming, a relentless murmur which meets its end in bombastic chords - perhaps the most bombastic in any recording. The 3rd Sonata has been interestingly recorded by Glenn Gould - another excentricity, of course, in the discography of such idiosyncratic artist, but his Chopin is different from anything I have ever listened to. - Henrique Bente - Porto Alegre - Brazil -

4. Surely you should include Angela Lear's Recording of the Sonata Op.35 which not only comes complete  in itself but includes a separate free CD explaining the details of the research and illustrations of how not to play it (if you care anything for Chopin's intentions, which obviously many do not.) Try  looking at for
details of all her recordings.  There is no substitute for hard work and research to get as close to Chopin's intentions as possible. - Colin Pryke


0. Istvan Szekely, Lydian/Naxos, 1987 (digital) CD also includes all four Scherzi. Another aggressive, bravura performance. This is especially exciting for the Op. 38, with it's torrents of angst. Szekely really shows his stuff with all of the technical mastery Chopin poured into these works. The playing is frankly much too fast for many, but if you like it fast and furious, this CD is for you. All performances are spectacular and thoughtful.

1. The four Ballades - Unquestionably, Krystian Zimmerman :" Deutsche Grammophon" 423 090-2 . Also, on this recording, we have "Barcarolle" in F minor, and "Fantasie" op. 49. That pianist won first prize at Chopin competition in 1975. You will understand why when you listen to it. I am sure that pianist plays the way Chopin would have wanted his music to be played. Zimmerman gives us a sublime, passionate, sensitive and pure vision. I think, we can say, without exaggerating, that it's almost perfection. The PURITY of his style is really something to listen to. Every fan of Chopin's music should have that CD. - Diane Lisee

2. ...the recording from Zimmerman (God his playing is so pure and ethereal!), but he does and excellent job with the remaining Ballades and Scherzi. - Ken Evans - keevans@Orion.AC.HMC.Edu

3. Ballade No 1 especially. It is an amazing piece, maybe one of Chopin greatest accomplishments. By far my favorite is Vasary 1965 Deutsche Grammofon. He seems to get the best balance of sensitivity and power, anguish and rage and makes you concentrate on the story and not the piano by avoiding mannerisms yet striking a perfect balance without being "dry." D. Samuel

4.  Ballades: Anything by Horowitz is golden. He reigns sovereign in anything he plays, almost, and the ballades are some of my personal favorites: the 4th especially is quite lucid and transcendental. I also favor the Rubenstein Ballades, often criticized as  sometimes ackward and sometimes cold; they are always high grade material, and his use of rubato is very nice. Tranquil in the slow parts, and crushing in the loud parts, I often turn to these in reflective moments. Askenazy also has some beautiful and stirring renditions of them.  And who can forget Garrick Ohlsson's lethargically crystal playing? - Evan Stephens  

5. My favorite performance of the #1 Ballade is by Ivan Moravec.  It has the poetry and expression that I think best exemplifies the romantic period.  It is less formal (as with Horowitz) and much more melodic in touch and style. This may not be a ballot, but Ivan Moravec is truly superb. -  "Fred Pape"

6. Murray Perahia plays the four ballades with incredible lyricism that I have never heard in any other reocrdings.  His interpretations, in my opinion, are superior to those of Arrau, Rubenstein, and Horowitz. - Stephen Goetz

7. Here is the unanimity: Krystian Zimerman. - Henrique Bente - Porto Alegre - Brazil -

8. There is a recording of the Ballades by Andrei Gavrilov, whom I'd never heard of, and seems quite young. It may be on the EMI label, but I'm not sure. in any case, he avoids the melodrama of Rubinstein, while still a little more flexible than, say Michelangeli. The rec of No. 2 in f is especially noteworthy; in the piece that demands dynamic contrast more than any other I
know of, Gavrilov (and, ostensibly, the rec's producers) creates a hauntingly profound chiaroscura, between the F and a passages. - George Conn -


0. Istvan Szekely, Lydian/Naxos, 1987 (digital) CD also includes all four Ballades. Perhaps this is where Szekely gets a little carried away. Performances are way too fast, almost absurdly so. However, his performance of my favorite, Op. 54, is wonderful, if very fast. The bulk of the Op.54 is fast yet lucid, and the slow part is played with great sensitivity masterful. This CD should not be your first introduction to the Scherzi. But if you are looking for the ultimate in "show-off" playing, this must be it.

1. Another great recording of the scherzi and ballades (both here, too) features Vladimir Ashkenazy. Also one of my favorite recordings, he plays the Op. 54 scherzo beautifully, if not perfectly. The other pieces also sound wonderful, but I like the faster F minor ballade as opposed to his more conservative interpretation. - Dr. Terrance Rucinski

2. Scherzi: Again, Harasiewicz can be recommended first and foremost. The 3rd, my favorite, is played incredibly well. The opening is booming and canon-like in its frenzied speed. The beautiful glistening chorale is lyrical, flowing, and pure. Ah, to listen to the falling leggiere arpeggios, played so delicately, like a glowing fountain of little lights, rapidly falling to earth. The 2nd Scherzo is rousing and mysterious; the quick little opening figure, followed by the earthshaking notes following. The
climax is especially satisfying. He truly excels in a piece known for its technical difficulty. The 4th, available on a budget Discover CD, is breathtaking in its virtuosity- the scalar passages are almost thrown off, and they ripple so majestically! The playing is seamless, and the transitions are very well made. While many pianists have trouble interpreting this one, Harasiewicz finds little difficulty applying himself to it: the piece sparkles and shimmers when appropriate, and the minor parts are
rightfully dark. - Evan Stephens

3. My personal favourite for Chopin's Scherzi is at the moment the latest Pogorelich record for Deutsche Gramophone. While other recording of Pogorelich may appeal only to some listeners because of the higly personal interpretation, in my opinion this Chopin is of absolute value and it is a must have for any Chopin fan. You will be really, really excited hearing at the more technical demanding passages ( I found the finale of the third scherzo particularly exciting ) and moved to commotion in the more intimate moments. - Michele Castiglioni -


0. Sandor Falvay, Lydian/Naxos, 1989 (digital) This CD only contains selections of the Mazurkas, but I think contains most of the best ones. This is the only Chopin CD I consider absolutely indispensable to myself. I find the Mazurkas to be very difficult to interpret properly (IMO). Falvay, for me, seems to hit the mark every time. The Mazurkas MUST be interpreted as very serious works of art, very near to Chopin's heart. I find this quality either lacking or inconsistent in every other recording of the Mazurkas that I've heard. Rubato and tempo especially distinguish the Mazurkas, and I think Falvay hits the bullseye every time here. I only wish he had recorded all of the Mazurkas!! The piano is extremely bright and sonorous, with lots of natural chorus. The recording is distinct from other Lydian Chopin in that it has almost an excess of room ambiance. The piano, although magical and full of personality, may sound a little distorted on some stereo equipment because of it's ambiance. The Op.59 #1 is especially remarkable here. My favorite CD.

1. ...a recording of the Mazurkas, by Jean-Marc Luisada... it's a jewel of a CD. This recording, from Jean-Marc Luisada is a miraculous integral of the Mazurkas. It is played with great sensitivity, giving each piece the rhythm and expression it requires. His Mazurkas really sound like a dance, lively and colourful, the way they are supposed to be played. This recording is the best I have heard, so far. Deutsche Grammophon -447 526-2. I finally found what I was looking for, with Luisada's recording.- Diane Lisee

2. Mazurkas: Horowitz and Horowitz alone. His playing, rhythmically perfect and always amazing, is absolutely unmatchable. While I have not yet got my hands on the complete Uninsky or Harasiewicz Mazurkas, I do know that the Horowitz ones available on RCA are truly outstanding. His left hand makes the bass immense and incredible, and his left hand is always singing and wonderful. I can't recommend them enough!  - Evan Stephens


0. Sandor Falvay, Lydian/Naxos, 1990/1991 (digital) CD contains seven Polonaises and the great Polonaise-Fantasy Op.61. The Polonaises are not my favorites, but I enjoy this CD. I can't comment much on the performance, as I don't listen to the Polonaises too much. However, there is a remarkable interpretation of Op.71 #1 (an early work, published posthumously). Falvay captures and highlights the creativity and almost playfulness of this work in a way very similar to his great "take" on the Op.59 #1 Mazurka. The performance of the Polonaise-Fantasy is also first rate. Again, the piano is very bright and clear, and very well recorded and engineered.

1. I'm not a fan of Falvay's interpretation of the PolonaiseFantasy. I believe Maurizio Pollini provides a far more impressionistic interpretation of this piece and many of the other Polonaises, and I believe it is a must have. - Ken Evans -   keevans@Orion.AC.HMC.Edu

2. Polonaise: Harasiewicz, though hard to find. Pollini's cold, technical, majestic approach works very well here, and Kissin, from what I have seen, will bring great great things to these pieces. All three, known for their F#m (the 5th) Polonaise, are great interpreters of these warlike pieces. Furious, nostalgic, energetic, and excited, these three pianist, vastly different in their approach (Harasiewicz is balanced, lyrical, imaginative... Pollini cold, dark, majestic, and very technical... Kissin aurally pleasing, in for the total sonic effect) all deliver immensely satisfying renditions of
the Polonaises.  - Evan Stephens

3. Pollini´s Polonaise-Fantaisie is unbeatable. The complete set has got its best expression on Harasiewicz´s recording, and there is a paradigmatic Grande Polonaise Brillante by Rubinstein. - Henrique Bente - Porto Alegre - Brazil -

  Piano Concerti

1. My recommendation here is a new recording: Chopin, The two piano concertos -chamber version- (BIS CD-847). Highly recccommended! Printed versions exist of the concertos with orchestra, piano solo or with a string quartet. I think this is the recording for these beautiful concertos. Strongly intimate music, hearing to the concertos as chamber works is a new and quite fresh experience. The CD is "Chopin: The two piano concertos chamber version-". Fumiko Shiraga (piano), The Yggdrasil Quartet & Jan-Inge Haukas (double bass). The label is BIS, and the reference number BIS-CD-847. Manuel Vázquez Caruncho

2. Concerti: Harasiewicz, on the old Philips Concerto Classics with the Vienna Philharmonic, is absolutely fabulous. His playing is colorful, powerful, spontaneous, and technically flawless without being flashy or showy. The Cortot/Barbirolli 2nd Concerto is tremendous and raw, extremely unique. The Rubenstein's are glitteringly pretty and acheingly regretful. Also great are the Ohlsson and the Ts'ong concertos- impressive originality. The Van Cliburn is unparalleled in lyric beauty, in singing wonder. His rubato and phrasing are incredible, though the orchestra tends to overpower
him. The Emil Gilels is sensitive and poetic- very professionally done. The Richter 3nd is powerful and convincing, and I love the Laserlight rendition of Harasiewicz (his winning playing in the 1955 Competition, over Ashkenazy and Ts'ong!)- the freshness and the blinding piano runs are well worth the listen.  - Evan Stephens

3. Concerti: the 1st has had its best expressions through Arrau, Rubinstein and Harasiewicz. The 2nd, through Zimerman (with Giulini), Perahia (with Mehta) and Cortot (with Barbirolli). The chamber version mentioned above is really a must for every Chopinophile´s collection. - Henrique Bente - Porto Alegre - Brazil -

4. The Arrau recording of the concerti and the concert pieces is one of my favorites. Arrau brings out the polyphony inherent in Chopins piano writing without overdoing it. Beautiful tone and aristocratic playing. I think his version of the Krakowiak is among the best, rythmic yet elegant. - Jorg Waldemar


0. Idil Biret, Naxos, 1990-1992 (digital) I can recommend three CDs from Naxos which will get you many of Chopin's lesser-known works. One has four Rondos, six early Mazurkas (not usually included in the 51 usually offered, and will complete the extant Mazurkas of Chopin along with the Naxos Complete Mazurkas also by Biret). This CD also includes five of Chopin's sets of Variations, making it a must-have for serious Chopin collectors. Biret has also recorded for Naxos two CDs including all of Chopin's orchestral/piano works, including the Piano Concerti. So, they also include the Mozart Variations Op.2, Krakowiak Op.14 (the forgotten concerto?), Fantasia on Polish Airs Op.13, and Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Op. 22. Therefore, these three CDs are an inexpensive way to complete your collection ($6.00 each in the U.S.) with quality performances and excellent recordings by an esteemed Chopin performer. Biret's piano is a little darker in sound than the aforementioned Lydian recordings. I would call it a 'medium' or 'neutral' sound - not spectacular but very good, and meticulously recorded as always with Naxos. Quality of performance- your guess is as good as mine. She is generally quite esteemed.

1. Garrick Ohlsson, The Complete Chopin Piano Works, Volume 8, "Masterpieces and Miniatures", Arabesque Recordings, 1997. Ohlsson was the gold medal winner at the 1970 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. This is another great CD with which to round-out a complete Chopin collection. The CD includes many of the larger, "stand-alone" works like the Fantasy op.49, Berceuse, Barcarolle, etc., as well as some smaller gems like the Ecossaises and a rare recording of Chopin's only Fugue. His performance of the rarely recorded Allegro de Concert, op.46, is wonderful, sublime! Ohlsson plays with a lighter touch, with great balance and sensitivity (maybe like Chopin's own playing). Ohlsson's playing is restrained, thoughtful, balanced and never overbearing.

2. Another great recording is Ashkenazy playing the Allegro de Concert. It's on the album (a 2-cd set) of the polonaises, along with the Berceuse, Barcarolle, Tarantella, and some miscellaneous posthumous works. His barcarolle is astoundingly clean-sounding in the middle... whom I consider the best pianist of this time, it sounds none less than spectacular. - Dr. Terrance Rucinski

3. My recommendation is "Great Chopin Performers", 5 CD set from LaserLight. Many of Recordings are from Chopin Competition in Warsaw. This CDs set is absolutely cheap, though all players are first class. CD1 includes Piano Concerto No. 1 and 2 and Scherzo - Players are MARTHA ARGERICH and so on. CD2 - Piano sonata No 2 and 3 - Players are Ivo Pogorelich, Garrick Ohlsson. CD3 - Polonaise, Ballade, Scherzo, etudes, Preludes and etc - Players are Ashkenazy, Pogorelich, Bunin and so on. CD4 - Waltzes, Mazurka, Impromptus, Polonaise Nocturnes - Players are POLLINI, ARGERICH, OHLSSON, Stenfanska, Harasiewicz... CD5 Mazurkas, Ballade, Scherzo - Players are Aregerich, Kemal Gekic, Dang Thai Son, Luisada, and etc... - Ken Yoshimura

4. I love Maurizio Pollini's recordings of Chopin. To my knowledge he has recorded the etudes, preludes, polonaises, sonatas and concertos. Some have criticized Pollini for being cold, but I find that he captures the majesty and fierceness of Chopin's music without sacrificing its incredible detail or poetry. Maurizio Pollini is my favorite pianist. Every recording I have heard by him seems to come as close as possible to the perfect realization of the piece. - anonymous

5. ...was a bit surprised when I found no mention of Rubinstein in the recording section. Although he doesn't play everything well (I, for example, don't like his performance of the ballades), but for my taste, and most of the musicians I know, Artur Rubinstein is one of the greatest Chopin interpreters. His recording of the the concertos (especially the 1st), the Nocturnes, Mazurkas, Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise and other recordings which I do not mention here, are unequaled (again- to my taste). Rubinstein definitely deserves a place- if not the highest place, in any list of Chopin recordings. - Inon Barnatan, London -

6. Pollini's recording of the Etudes is staggering. The power of No. 4 in the first set is amazing. And the lyrical Etudes are delightful. However, Horowitz's performance of the F major Etude at his 1965
comeback concert is probably the most charming rendition of the piece that there is. His finger control towards the end is extraordinary. Talking of Horowitz, I think that his recording of the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise is unsurpassable. The articulation is superhuman, the command of phrasing and dynamics is a marvel. A tremendous performance. Horowitz's recordings of the 4th Scherzo, and of the Polonaises are also superb. And his mazurka playing is unique. Lipatti's recording of the Waltzes is wonderful, but aren't some of them just a little too fast? Finally, a really wonderful recording of the Etudes is the one Ashkenazy made when he was still in his twenties. I'm not sure how to get hold of it these days, but it really is good, and he does some very original and delightful things. -

7. It seems interesting that no contributor to your page has mentioned one of my personal favorite Chopin Etude interpreters- Abbey Simon. While not internationally recognized as a Chopin player, I have found his recordings of the Op.10 and Op.25 Etudes very endearing. I highly recommend this recording to anyone who truly enjoys these poetic masterpieces-as I do. The label is "VoxBox", and the title of this wonderful CD is simply "Abbey Simon Plays Chopin". It comes in a duo set, along with the complete Waltzes. The Baldwin he performs on is possessed of light, brilliant tone, and all of the faster Etudes simply ripple out from the keys, sparkling brilliantly in the air. His technical ease is matched only by his tender, singing tone on the slower Etudes. His recordings of the Etudes in sixths, thirds, and No. 10, op.10 /No. 1, Op.25, and No 9., Op. 25 are the best I've heard to date. In my opinion, a must have for the serious Chopin collector. The waltzes included are well played, if a bit fast in places. They are much in the lighter style, as Chopin likely intended many, if not all of them, to be. (As to the rarity of the recording, I can't say. I've had mine for three or four years, since I spotted it at a local Borders books.) - Richard Yarian

8. The Best, the Number One, the Master is Arthur RUBINSTEIN ; I feel as if Chopin was reincarned into him ! Polonaises, Marzurkas and scherzos are the best of the discography. The only problem is Rubinstein never recorded the whole works. For the whole works, I am surprised that nobody talked about Nikita MAGALOFF ; Even if I don't like too much his waltz (he plays too fast with too much rubato), he must be placed at the top for the whole work. I like Pollini (studies and sonatas) and some of Claudio Arrau (Philips) sounds pretty good : his waltz are slower than Magaloff and you can appriciate the whole feeling ; however it's sometimes too slow and you can hear Arrau's breath on pianissimos which is sometimes a little bit unpleasant. At last, you must ban Sanson François who was acclaimed by the french music press during the 60's and the 70's : his Chopin sounds affected with a lot of exagerated rubato. Chopin is simply romantic, not mannered. - Paul Collet -

9. I was surprised when I couldn't find many recommendation of Martha Argerich's recordings. Her playing combines poetry and unsurpassable technique - is there a more exciting recoring of the second scherzo? Or is there any recording for a more beatifully played preludes? Martha is still the most legendary pianist amongst the Warsaw Competition winners and I believe she does deserve a place in the history of Chopin recordings. - Henry Chow

10. If I were to choose one single interpreter for piano music (especially of the romantic period) that would be Artur Rubinstein. If Chopin were the god of the piano then Rubinstein would be his sole prophet... I was tempted to think that Rubinstein was the greatest Beethoven player - until I heard his Chopin and Brahms. The sheer magnetism of the music got me mesmerised through each and every phrase he plays. His interpretation speaks to me in a most personal way like no other pianist could ever hope to do so - living or dead. Rubinstein's pianistic prowess and his mastery on the keyboard
(as reflected in his Liszt) are his means to sublime musical expressions. I now have in my possession Rubinstein's entire discography from Bach to Prokofiev. His Chopin recordings - if lacking the complete Etudes Opp.10 & 25,  to which he humbly asserted in his memoirs that he "could not do full justice"  - are profoundly monumental and unreservedly
recommended to any serious listener of Chopin's music. - Peter Chan (NT, HongKong) (1)

11. To add to your list of recommended recordings, I would strongly suggest that you include "Ruth Slenczynska Plays Chopin & Liszt Live!"(Aca Digital - #20010, available at, which includes the Four Ballads and the complete Etudes, Op. 10, with Listz' "La campanella" as an encore. [Full disclosure: I am less than unbiased -- I am a flutist, and attended Southern Illinois University for a year, where I knew many of her students, heard her play some of this repertoire live, and have remained in touch with her student Stan Ford who is now a full professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.] Ms. Slenczynska is one of the best Chopin pianists on record. She learned this repertoire as a child and a young woman while under the influence of her horrifically abusive father. That she survived and continues to teach and play is a real testament to her love of music and the piano. In addition, her recording of the Sonata in B minor, Op 58, can be heard on Ivory Classics #70902, also available on She brings her work with some of the legendary pianists of the 20th Century -- Sergei Rachmaninov and Alfred Cortot among them -- to bear upon this repertoire, and has great understanding and affinity for the musical demands of Chopin's compositions. Sincerely, -- Don Hulbert