The New York Times, May 28, 2010(* same recording, different commercial edition)
There was a time when the notion of picking five favorite Chopin recordings would have scared the bejeebers out of me. Growing up, romantic piano was never my forte, so to speak. I always enjoyed Chopin's music -- who doesn't? -- but never really bothered to explore it in any especially deep or vigorous way.
But writing for the Times these past four years has constantly forced me to break out of my box, to newly assess music I'd overlooked and reassess what I'd disregarded, and to develop an ability to analyze and describe what it was that worked, or didn't, about a given performance. That process, as well as regular live encounters with performers like Arnaldo Cohen, Evgeny Kissin, Maurizio Pollini and Yundi, helped me to go far deeper into the Chopin oeuvre than I'd previously bothered to do.
The richness therein, needless to say, is intoxicating once you've started to investigate. And in the end, it proved surprisingly easy to pick five recordings among those on my shelf that stood out for one special reason or another. For the complete descriptive text, scroll just a bit more than halfway down the article linked above.
For convenience, I've added direct links to each recording on a variety of shopping sites. I'm not an affiliate and don't make a cent for this; clearly, it's the former record store clerk in me that makes me do it. I considered adding the newish Passionato for its lossless FLAC option, but since that site only had one of the five titles (Argerich, here), the notion seemed decidedly premature. But if your favorite CD or download source isn't here, do me a favor and tell me about it.