I used to think classical recordings were all the same. Afterall, they are playing from sheet music that includes the exact note, count and musical articulation. But it turns out, a classical piece can be interpreted in different ways.
Take for example, these two interpretations of Chopin Opus 25 No. 5 in E Minor- one by and another by Lang Lang. They are distinctly different.
I liken it to an artist doing a cover on someone else’s song- except, with a cover, you know what the original song sounds like. With classical pieces, that predate recording, there is only the sheet music to go by. There is no way of knowing how the original composer of the music played it, no reference point.
Lang Lang and Vladimir Ashkenazy are not playing Chopin, they are playing their version of Chopin, since it is not possible to know how Chopin’s version sounded.
The sheet music is merely a guide; whoever is playing the piece can completely alter the mood.
Click on below picture for link to the two versions: