Writes critic Jed Distler in his note: "There is an emotional freshness and freedom from clichés that draws me into the playing, particularly in the vibrancy and note-to-note intensity of his best live performances. Certainly, the latter qualities inform the two Chopin interpretations preserved on the present disc. Arrau recalled that Otto Klemperer had never conducted Chopin prior to their 1954 collaboration in the E Minor Concerto. Rehearing it nearly three decades later, the pianist expressed disappointment, indicating that he had somehow idealized the performance in his memory. Idealized or not, Arrau's playing boasts a vibrancy and forward-moving sweep that sharply contrasts to his relatively measured studio recording for Philips. And the pianist's characteristic traits are everywhere evident: fully spelt-out chords, vocally oriented rather than merely decorative fioratura, and a more active bass register than usual. Notice too in the F Minor Concerto's third movement how Arrau's left hand uncovers important motivic material most pianists neglect, and how he adjusts his phrasing to interact with the first desk orchestral solos in true chamber music fashion. Fritz Busch's clear and sympathetic podium leadership clearly inspires Arrau, and proves no small addition to the conductor's relatively small orchestral discography."
CD-1158(1) CLAUDIO ARRAU PLAYS CHOPIN: TWO HISTORIC PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RECORDINGS – Chopin: Concerto No. 1 in e, Op. 11 (1830) with WDR S.O., Cologne, cond. Otto Klemperer (25 Oct. 1954); Concerto No. 2 in f, Op. 21 (1830) with Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, cond. Fritz Busch (U.N. Human Rights Day Concert, New York, 10 Dec. 1950). Audio restoration by Graham Newton, 2004. Total time: 71:42 [AAD] UPC# 0-17685-11582-0.