The Complete Chopin EditionCommemorating the 150th anniversary of Chopin's death, DG's Complete Chopin Edition has been able to draw on an archive of recordings by perhaps the finest line-up of pianists of any record company during the past half-century. It is a situation which has not come about by chance. A policy of attracting and retaining the services of several of the leading artists of the age - Martha Argerich, and also, most particularly, Maurizio Pollini and Krystian Zimerman - can now be seen to have reaped a harvest of wonderful richness. While this is of course very much more than their Complete Chopin Edition, these three artists dominate it.
A Complete Edition is something to be purchased and savoured for a lifetime's pleasure. This means that bland and uniform compilation needs to be avoided at all costs. What makes DG's line-up of pianists remarkable in this music is how little each conforms merely to style-conscious Romantic elegance. Here, on the contrary, is an outstandingly strong and thought-provoking portrait of Chopin as a musical thinker and explorer of greatness. And it presents DG's pianists at their finest - the triumphant outcome of the labels determination always to get, and keep, the very best.
(Malcolm Hayes is a British music journalist who writes for the UK's Sunday Telegraph and Classic FM Magazine, and is the author of a biography of Webern.)