Zimerman's Chopin concerti

Currently listening to Zimerman’s conducted and played set on Spotify.
Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve heard these recordings.
I don’t really know how I feel about it yet, but the word “self-indulgent” comes to mind.
It’s almost like Pogo-lite, particularly in the treatment of the orchestral parts.
It’s beautiful to be sure but the slow tempi seem to fragment the structure, to my ears.
I know there are some KZ fans here so I’d be interested in your opinions.

He seems to be better behaved in the F minor concerto, although I don’t think I’ll be returning to this one either.

The fuss about this was the orchestra I seem to remember. He manages to invest it with a lot of interest as opposed to the usual ‘backing’. Haven’t listened to it for ages but I remember liking it a lot.

I’m actually not very fond of the Chopin concerti and never listen to them on my own accord, but this recording was my introduction to them and I at least used to hold it in very high regard - although I haven’t actually heard it since I was my teens.

What I can say in general about KZ is that my take on him is that he didn’t become a “great” pianist until around the mid 1980s. His recordings and concerts before that are always clean, well-behaved and to my ears ultimately rather uninteresting. But around 1984/1985/1986 somewhere that white-hot passion began entering his playing, which turned everything around. Virtually all he’s done for DG since 1987 has been reference recordings for me, and from 2001 I think he’s been an excellent recitalist as well (admittedly excepting his last few programs, but I think it’s the repertoire). My one and only encounter with him in 2005 was one of the most memorable concerts I’ve attended, and his 1994 recital here is still talked about among veteran concert goers today.

He has definitely made some excellent recordings to be sure.
I’m very fond of his Liszt concerti and especially his Liszt sonata for example.
And I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing (and bootlegging) him in November, even if it’s in Bernstein.
my main issue is with the E minor concerto, I felt he stretched it all out of shape with his pogo tempi.
I don’t think whatever extra “care” he gave to the orchestra resulted in a better performance. Quite the opposite in fact.

Aha, minor clarification - I thought your OP was about the 1970s Giulini recording. With the 1999 remake I definitely understand the self-indulgent remark. I liked his earlier recording better.

I love the Liszt discs as well - probably my favorite KZ recordings, together with the Ravel concerti and his Chopin solo CD.

KZ’s festival Chopin Concerti reminded me of the way Gould might play a piece he really liked, where he would take a slow tempo and draw it out.

I avoided this recording for a while based on the tempo, if you can’t fit both Chopin concerti on a single CD something must be off. But I eventually did hear it, and I thought the praise was a little hyperbolic. The orchestra part got the Boulez x-ray treatment, but there still ain’t much there. No big deal though. Interesting to hear KZ’s take, but I’d choose his earlier versions over these “special” ones.

I’m listening to his earlier version now.
These are much more satisfactory.
I honestly think these pieces practically play themselves, no need for much “interpretation”.

I think the orchestra was put together by him specifically for these recordings. He chose the musicians, and they worked absolutely everything out and rehearsed the shit out of them.

They are supposedly historically informed performances, and how the orchestra would have treated the orchestral part. I found it really annoying after a while listening to all the portamentos… became very tedious and started to sound a bit gimmicky. I don’t care if they used to do that a lot more, we don’t anymore and I’m fine with that.

Hmm, the portamento didn’t bug me, but then again it doesn’t bug me when I listen to Kreisler either.

Yeah the portamento doesn’t really bother me either, it’s mostly the tempo. Even then, it’s not that I dislike them, just not all that revelatory.

Da TRIF recorded da Chop concz in PedoPlatez orchestration

I will listen to it but I like the orchestration the way it is.
The worst is what Tausig did to the tutti sections.

If I recall correctly da Rosenthal 1931 rec of Chop 1 also got da truncated tuttis.

Who wants to hear Chop’z orchestral writing anyway? 8)
Randomly, imagine Godowsky arranged Chopin’s entire output! Haha fuck, da Chop 3rd Sonata structural problems would be Solved 8)

I agree with you, brew. His earlier rec with Giulini sounds more “natural” than the later rec.

Just listened to the fmin - I can see where the self indulgent criticsim is coming from but I honestly don’t see him as an artist where that applies. (I heard Hough play the eb nocturne and had some very major issues in that regard!)

I think he’s trying to re-think it afresh. I remember reading when he first recorded it with Giulini, he was excited to work with an operatic conductor coz he always thought that’s the treatment these pieces deserved, then was dismayed when he conducted them ‘normally’, shall we say. I think that’s what spurred him on to make these recordings.

I have no doubt that he has absolute conviction that his way is the right way (much like Pogo) but I’m not convinced by it, question of taste.
It’s actually a lot worse in the E minor than the F minor.