Audiophile HD-Vinyls 24/96 (Philips) Frederik Chopin – The 21 Nocturnes on 2 LPs (Arrau)

Thank you Trottar for this beauty

# Composer: Frederik Chopin
# Performer: Claudio Arrau
# Vinyl (1978)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: FLAC (Tracks)
# Label: Philips
# DR-Analysis: DR 14
# Size: 2.4 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory

Anyone who thinks that Chopin’s nocturnes are not “technically” demanding has obviously never spent time studying them. They are quintessential Chopin and demand infinite attention to matters of touch, pedalling, and tone production from start to finish A hasty or shallow performance, such as might work with the Fantaisie-Imromptu, for instance, will not suffice here. To play them well is no small task and requires a great deal of emotional investment tempered by a controlled technique; fortunately Arrau is up to the challenge, as this recording attests.

If anyone wanted a great introduction to the late Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau I’d point them to this set. This is some of the most distinctive Chopin playing I’ve ever heard, beautifully-recorded. I’ve been comparing this to Rubinstein’s set all week and Arrau comes out on top almost every time.

Some people may find his push-pull rubato a little too much, but I like it here. Listen to how he never repeats a phrase exactly. Each time he plays it he caresses a different note, a different part of the phrase, accents a different beat ever so slightly. There’s no such thing as “passage work” with Arrau. He has said that every note in a piece is equally important, and he plays these works that way, rather than as just light dreamy moonlight pieces, and thus brings out demons in them I’ve never heard before. For just one of many examples, listen to the pedal just before the coda in the Second Nocturne, Op. 9. No one does moments like that like Arrau–he makes a very special statement effortlessly, without flash or drama. His recordings reward careful, repeated listening, and bore those searching for surface flair.

It’s interesting to note that he considered the Nocturnes to be the peak of Chopin’s output, an extraordinary view. Most other pianists–Rubinstein is a fine example–handle the Nocturnes as small parlor pieces, but Arrau gives them a big-scale treatment. You could argue they lose some of their intimate charm, their old fashioned quality, this way, like listening to Mozart chamber music through a bullhorn, but I think Arrau’s view has a lot going for it. He brings out a certain agitation in No. 2 in Op. 37 in G-major, that other pianists miss. He finds moonlight and mystery in the constantly changing figurations of No. 1 in B-flat minor–again, no such thing as passagework. And just wait till you hear the volcanic fury pent up in the C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 1. I find these larger-than-life readings to be very satisfying, and despite Arrau’s approach he manages to find plenty of small-scale charm in, say, Op. 15, No. 2. But what makes this set special to me is the extra material he mines from works like Op. 15, No. 1, here played more disturbingly than ones normally hears it. And, if you’re in the mood for the drawing room approach, you should also have your Rubinstein set handy.

Don’t listen to those who say either 1) Chopin played his works without a lot of rubato, or 2) there is heavy breathing here that makes these unlistenable. No one knows what Chopin played these works like–there was no recording then, obviously, and a verbal description is not reliable since everything is relative–what was considered “not a lot of rubato” in 1840 could be a lot today, just as meat that was “not very salty” in 1840 would probably assault our tastebuds today. Chopin’s direct descendants were recorded, however, or many of them were, and they played his works with great freedom, rhythmic and otherwise. This fact, coupled with the knowledge that slavish workship of the printed note did not take effect until the second half of the 20th century, makes me suspect anyone who says Chopin did not want his works played this way or that way. As for Arrau’s “breathing,” I don’t find it particularly bothersome. Anyone saying this makes the discs “unlistenable” must be a child of the electronic music age, and probably could not keep his concentration in a concert hall surrounded by people who are all, we hope, breathing.


A1   Nr.1 B-Moll Op.9/1 5:49  
A2   Nr.2 Es-Dur Op.9/2 4:49  
A3   Nr.3 H-Dur Op. 9/3 7:18  
A4   Nr.4 F-Dur Op.15/1 5:07  
A5   Nr.5 Fis-Dur Op.15/2 3:49  
A6   Nr.6 G-Moll Op.15/3 4:44  
B1   Nr.7 Cis-Moll Op.27/1 5:28  
B2   Nr.8 Des-Dur Op.27/2 6:21  
B3   Nr.9 H-Dur Op.32/1 5:43  
B4   Nr.10 As-Dur Op.32/2 5:21  
B5   Nr.11 G-Moll Op.37/1 7:16  
C1   Nr.12 G-Dur Op.37/2 7:07  
C2   Nr.13 C-Moll Op.48/1 6:22  
C3   Nr.14 Fis-Moll Op.48/2 7:52  
C4   Nr.15 F-Moll Op.55/1 5:45  
D1   Nr.16 Es-Durt Op.55/2 5:33  
D2   Nr.17 H-Dur Op. 62/1 7:45  
D3   Nr.18 E-Dur Op. 62/2 7:13  
D4   Nr.19 E-Moll Op.72/1 4:17  
D5   Nr.20 C-Moll Op.Posth. 4:30  
D6   Nr.21 Cis-Moll Op.Posth. 3:42  

Analyzed folder: /96kCh_AllNoc_Arr/96k Chopin – Complete Nocturnes – Arrau
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR14        -0.45 dB     -20.35 dB     A1 Nr.1 B-Moll Op.9-1.wav
DR15        -1.85 dB     -22.00 dB     A2 Nr.2 Es-Dur Op.9-2.wav
DR13        -1.56 dB     -19.65 dB     A3 Nr.3 H-Dur Op. 9-3.wav
DR12        -0.53 dB     -19.09 dB     A4 Nr.4 F-Dur Op.15-1.wav
DR14        -0.47 dB     -20.01 dB     A5 Nr.5 Fis-Dur Op.15-2.wav
DR17        -0.29 dB     -22.58 dB     A6 Nr.6 G-Moll Op.15-3.wav
DR12        -0.38 dB     -18.76 dB     B1 Nr.7 Cis-Moll Op.27-1.wav
DR13        -0.92 dB     -20.20 dB     B2 Nr.8 Des-Dur Op.27-2.wav
DR14        -3.47 dB     -21.72 dB     B3 Nr.9 H-Dur Op.32-1.wav
DR13        -1.22 dB     -19.48 dB     B4 Nr.10 As-Dur Op.32-2.wav
DR14        -4.88 dB     -23.79 dB     B5 Nr.11 G-Moll Op.37-1.wav
DR15        -3.97 dB     -23.43 dB     C1 Nr.12 G-Dur Op.37-2.wav
DR12        -0.21 dB     -17.32 dB     C2 Nr.13 C-Moll Op.48-1.wav
DR15        -2.21 dB     -22.19 dB     C3 Nr.14 Fis-Moll Op.48-2.wav
DR13        -2.82 dB     -21.22 dB     C4 Nr.15 F-Moll Op.55-1.wav
DR13        -0.32 dB     -17.41 dB     D1 Nr.16 Es-Durt Op.55-2.wav
DR15        -2.03 dB     -22.50 dB     D2 Nr.17 H-Dur Op. 62-1.wav
DR13        -1.08 dB     -19.91 dB     D3 Nr.18 E-Dur Op. 62-2.wav
DR13        -0.75 dB     -18.93 dB     D4 Nr.19 E-Moll Op.72-1.wav
DR15        -2.58 dB     -22.71 dB     D5 Nr.20 C-Moll Op.Posth..wav
DR14        -1.69 dB     -21.43 dB     D6 Nr.21 Cis-Moll Op.Posth..wav
Number of files:    21
Official DR value:    DR14

Ripping Infos

  • RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
  • TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
  • Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
  • Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
  • ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
  • Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
  • Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
  • Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
  • Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
  • Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Light de-Clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising

If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.

  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

If you like what i do, please consider that a little donation would be very appreciate. I reinvest all donations in maintenance of my rig, for purchasing cleaning solutions and, most important of all, purchasing of new vinyls.
Click on the “Donate”-button. Thank you very much !

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6 archives
PW: LaWally

23 thoughts on “Audiophile HD-Vinyls 24/96 (Philips) Frederik Chopin – The 21 Nocturnes on 2 LPs (Arrau)

  1. Many thanx Trottar & Rach for sharing more Arrau with us. Wish I had heard more of this great artist earlier in my life. Hope 2014 is great to you both.

  2. Deeply and Warmly Beautiful playing and fantastic Music.
    And Oh, yes, clear and sensitive technical work.

    This year is off to a marvelous start. Thank you, Friend!


  3. Rach and Trottar, thanks to the precious gems. You were fantastic.
    Needless to say that if you have other performances of the master Arrau (the cat on the keyboard) do not hesitate to propose, will be welcomed with the same enthusiasm.

  4. this is my favourite Chopin’s Nocturnes, i think it is better than Rubinstein’s, the Beethoven’s sonata played by Arrau is also very good, i like these great gems!

  5. Many thanks to Rach and Trottar for this beautiful set. Arrau’s interpretation is great and the sound is great-great! A happy beginning of the New year!

  6. God in heaven, Rachmaninov!
    I just got around to listening to this!
    I ADORE Arrau, and have CDs of EVERTHING he recorded (and it is much). but NONE compare in quality to your rip! I am speechless!

    {{{ Thanks! }}}

    times a million!

  7. Thanks for sharing but unfortunately, part5 is unvailable because of “server under maintenance.” (I have tried for 2days and the same message). 🙁

  8. hello rachmaninov.

    this is wonderful, what a discovery this mr. arrau !

    did a little research, seems his interpretation of schumann is brilliant. (i can imagine it, listening to his chopin)

    any chance to find a vinyl rip of some schumann recording??

    please keep up your great work. its amazing what u bring to us… thank u a lot

    • Dear friend,
      “The server hosting this file is temporarily unavailable due to system maintenance. Please try again shortly. ” is not the same as “is down” 😉

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