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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Classical Music > Piano > Andras Schiff Plays Bach (EuroArts) + Daniel Barenboim – The Warsaw Recital/Fryderyk Chopin + Evgrny Kissin, Mikolai Demidenko – The Piano Concertos/ Fryderyk Chopin (Accentus Music/Naxos Blu-rays)

Andras Schiff Plays Bach (EuroArts) + Daniel Barenboim – The Warsaw Recital/Fryderyk Chopin + Evgrny Kissin, Mikolai Demidenko – The Piano Concertos/ Fryderyk Chopin (Accentus Music/Naxos Blu-rays)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: C+/C/C     Concerts: B



It is always a good thing when a new label starts releasing titles, especially in the relatively new Blu-ray format.  Among the impressive companies Naxos distributes (including titles from their own home label), Accentus has joined their family of high quality labels and we will look at two of their first titles in this latest look at Classical Music in High Definition.


But first comes another solid release from EuroArts, Andras Schiff Plays Bach, delivering French Suites Nos. 1 – 6, Overture in the French Style in B minor on piano.  These concerts that isolate the player usually work out well enough, though with the burden on one artist, things could go wrong but Schiff has a fine command of Bach and this is one of the best Bach titles we have covered to date.


The program was taped 6/11/10 and lasts 132 minutes, which could have worn out its welcome, but instead, Schiff plays the music with a grasp and familiarity that gives it the kind of life you would get form the best performances of the master’s works.  He is in his own zone very quickly as he starts playing and it stays that way the whole time, which is the sign of a truly gifted pianist.  I was impressed and this will stick with me for a very long time.


For more strong Bach on Blu-ray, try this link:





Now comes the two Accentus titles, both of which happen to feature music by Fryderyk Chopin on the occasion of his 200th Birthday!  First we get the always great Daniel Barenboim (it is his 60th Birthday and his talents remain undiminished) here playing The Warsaw Recital with 11 great pieces of his work including:


Fantasie for Piano in F minor/A flat major, B 137/Op. 49

Nocturne for piano No. 8 in D flat major, Op. 27/2, CT. 115

Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, B 128/Op. 35 "Funeral March"

Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60

Waltz for piano No. 4 in F major, Op. 34/3, CT. 210

Waltz for piano No. 3 in A minor, Op. 34/2, CT. 209

Waltz for piano No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 64/2, CT. 213

Berceuse for piano in D flat major, Op. 57, CT. 7

Polonaise for Piano in A flat major, B 147/Op. 53 "Heroic"

Mazurkas (5) for Piano, B 61/Op. 7

Waltz for piano No. 6 in D flat major ("Minute"), Op. 64/1, CT. 212



Finally we get Evgrny Kissin, Mikolai Demidenko – The Piano Concertos continuing this celebration in more impressive pianowork playing the following compositions:


Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11

Concerto for Piano no 2 in F minor, B 43/Op. 21

Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 77/Op. 17

Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25

Waltz for Piano in E Minor, Op. Post.


I liked them both very much and could not choose between the two if I had to.  Fans should just settle for both.



The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on all three have good color, but also some softness and motion blur inherent to interlaced HD, but they can be more stable than usual since it is solo pianists.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mixes on all three Blu-rays sound good, have fine soundfields and even appropriate ones when they are reproducing the concert hall sound.  Though none are extraordinary, they are all exceptionally clean recordings.  PCM 2.0 Stereo versions are also included, though they cannot match the DTS-MA mixes.


Extras include the usual informative booklets inside each case, while the discs have trailers for other Blu-ray releases and Schiff adds an outstanding on-camera interview with Schiff about Bach that is one of the best analyses you will ever hear.  I wish he did a mini-series on the subject.


For more Chopin on disc, try these links:


Art Of Chopin DVD



Lang Lang: Live In Vienna Blu-ray



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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