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NY Times Picks Ivan Moravec's "Astonishing" Chopin Nocturnes, "An Essential Document," for Chopin Bicentennial

Ivan Moravec: Chopin Nocturnes [cover]

The New York Times is celebrating the recent bicentennial of Frédéric Chopin's birth with a look back at a select group of standout recordings of the composer's works. The paper's classical music critics "have combed through the many recordings devoted to Chopin," says the Times, "and selected their favorites." Among them: Czech pianist Ivan Moravec's 1965 performance of the Chopin Nocturnes, reissued by Nonesuch in 1991 and available now in the Nonesuch Store.

"Choosing just five recordings to represent most composers poses a challenge, but doing so for Chopin is especially daunting," says Times critic Steve Smith. "His music, so fastidiously wrought and emotionally generous, rewards faithful interpretations while also embracing idiosyncratic approaches; you’re spoiled for choice across a vast temperamental range."

Nonetheless, Smith selects the Nonesuch reissue of Moravec's performance. "Even by modern standards the recorded sound is astonishing," says Smith. He explains that, while a few ambient sounds can be heard on the recording, Moravec's "extraordinary dynamic shading and gracious shaping of each gemlike work lift his account above a crowded field: truly, this is an essential document."

Read more of Smith's picks, along with those of his fellow Times critics, at nytimes.com. To pick up a copy of the double-disc CD with audiophile-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album included at checkout, visit the Nonesuch Store.

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