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Complete Nocturnes (sound recording) by…

Complete Nocturnes (sound recording)

by Frédéric Chopin

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Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849)

Nocturnes: Complete Recording

CD 1

[1] No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 9 No. 1: Larghetto
[2] No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2: Andante
[3] No. 3 in B major, Op. 9 No. 3: Allegretto
[4] No. 4 in F major, Op. 15 No. 1: Andante cantabile
[5] No. 5 in F sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2: Larghetto
[6] No. 6 in G minor, Op. 15 No. 3: Lento
[7] No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1: Larghetto
[8] No. 8 in D flat major, Op. 27 No. 2: Lento sostenuto
[9] No. 9 in B major, Op. 32 No. 1: Andante sostenuto
[10] No. 10 in A flat major, Op. 32 No. 1: Lento

CD 2
[1] No. 11 in G minor, Op. 37 No. 1: Andantino sostenuto
[2] No. 12 in G major, Op. 37 No. 2: Andantino
[3] No. 13 in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1: Lento
[4] No. 14 in F sharp minor, Op. 48 No. 2: Andantino
[5] No. 15 in F minor, Op. 55 No. 1: Andante
[6] No. 16 in E flat major, Op. 55 No. 2: Lento sostenuto
[7] No. 17 in B major, Op. 62 No. 1: Andante
[8] No. 18 in E major, Op. 62 No. 2: Lento
[9] No. 19 in E minor, Op. 72 No. 1: Andante
[10] No. 20 in C sharp minor, op. post.: Lento con gran espressione
[11] No. 21 in C minor, op. post.

Maria João Pires, piano

Recorded: 1/1995 & 1&4/1996, Grosser Saal, Musikhochschule, Munich; 6/1996, Henry Wood Hall, London.

Deutsche Grammophon, 1996. 2 CD. 50'29+58'42. Liner notes by Jeffrey Kallberg.


In the year of the Lord 1981, Daniel Barenboim recorded for Deutsche Grammophon the dullest complete nocturnes that can possibly be imagined. Fifteen years later, the Chopinesque darkness in the DG catalogues was dispelled by Maria João Pires.

Maria’s instinct for the right tempo and the right phrasing borders on the supernatural. In a way, she combines the best of the old Romantic school and the modern, much more literal practice. This means that, in simple English, she is free and expressive without being self-indulgent and anti-musical. Maria is much more modern than Romantic, make no mistake about that, but she does avoid the metronomic dullness and insipid phrasing that affect so many other modern performers. The recorded sound is excellent and so is Mr Kallberg’s essay in the booklet. The set is quite complete and you can follow Chopin’s development from Nos. 20-21, astonishing music for a lad of 20 or so to compose, through the growing maturity of the 1830s (Opp. 9, 15, 27 & 32), to the late masterpieces of the 1840s (notably the great C minor nocturne and Op. 62).

There is nothing to be said about Chopin's Nocturnes except that even the weakest of them touch the sublime – and the best define it. Perhaps one may quote Louis Kentner’s witty remark that these “exquisite lyrical effusions” should not “suffer critical degradation because sentimental young ladies used them, in days long gone by, to comfort their repressed libido.”[1] In my opinion, everybody, absolutely everybody short of a completely tone deaf person, ought to have one complete recording of the Chopin nocturnes. The one Maria made for DG twenty years ago is an excellent choice.

[1] Louis Kentner, Piano [1976], Kahn & Averill, 2005, p. 144. ( )
  Waldstein | Sep 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frédéric Chopinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barenboim, Danielmain authorsome editionsconfirmed
João Pires, Mariapianomain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Please combine here only complete recordings (21 pieces) of Chopin's nocturnes.
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