Another example of superb programming, Piotr Anderszewski's Chopin recital on Virgin is brilliantly conceived and masterfully executed. Concentrating on the compoer's late works, Anderszewski's program starts with two sets of Mazurkas played with supple sensitivity and sympathetic poetry, builds through the last two Ballades played with dramatic intensity and terrific technique, climaxes in the last two Polonaises played with heroic grandeur and tremendous virtuosity, and closes with the tender and intimate Mazurka in F minor as an encore. Anderszewski's technique is imperious, his tone is sensual, his performances are emotional, and his interpretations are magisterial. Individually, each performance is strong and vital. Taken all together, the whole disc is more than the sum of its parts. Virgin's sound is warm but a bit close and sometimes a little too immediate.
When Pogorelich did not make the finals of the 1980 Warsaw Competition (where they play exclusively Chopin), his response was to sign with Deutsche Grammophon for his first recording and he made it an all-Chopin affair. From his stunning opening take on Chopin's Sonata #2, to a Funeral March restored to its grandeur, to the breaktaking final moments of the Scherzo #3, Pogorelich announced to the music world that he'd arrived.
Pollini's traversal of Chopin's 19 Nocturnes (he leaves out the pair of posthumous ones) is one of his finest recordings in years. His long-lined yet detailed performances are comparable to the very different ones that have long stood at the pinnacle of recorded sets. Not as serene as Artur Rubinstein's, not as philosophical as Claudio Arrau's, nor as warm as Ivan Moravec's, Pollini's interpretations have their own allure. One is the way he shapes the melodies with a natural flow enhanced by his tonal beauty, less lean and streamlined than his usual way with Romantic music.
Passion rather than insouciance is Pires’s keynote. Here is no soft, moonlit option but an intensity and drama that scorn all complacent salon or drawing-room expectations. How she relishes Chopin’s central storms, creating a vivid and spectacular yet unhistrionic contrast with all surrounding serenity or ‘embalmed darkness’. The con fuoco of Op. 15 No. 1 erupts in a fine fury and in the first Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 1, Pires’s sharp observance of Chopin’s appassionato marking comes like a prophecy of the coda’s sudden blaze. Such resolution and psychological awareness make you realize that Chopin, like D. H. Lawrence, may well have thought that “there must be a bit of fear, and a bit of horror in your life”. Chopin, Pires informs us in no uncertain terms, was no sentimentalist.
The career of the young Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov has taken off since he won the Honens Prize in 2012. He issued a live recording and then a fine album of Tchaikovsky pieces that, while pleasures all, are not really everyday items. With this set of 24 of Chopin's 58 mazurkas, he makes what might be regarded as his debut in mainstream repertory. Twisting and turning the slightly tense rhythm of the Polish folk dance in a dozen different directions, they're an excellent pick for Kolesnikov's deliberate yet playful style. Kolesnikov observes all of Chopin's repeats, daring the listener to find them tedious and delivering with readings that diverge in small but telling details from the first time through. It's in the small details that Kolesnikov excels. The temperature of the entire recording is low, and Hyperion's engineers set just the right level at their favorite venue for this kind of recital, the Wyastone Estate concert hall. But the listener is drawn into Kolesnikov's unique handling of the unusual technical devices in which these pieces abound.
Speak French more naturally.
Do you sometimes find that you know all the words in a sentence but still cannot figure out the meaning? Congratulations, you’ve probably met an expression or idiom. For example, when you say 'it's raining cats and dogs', you don’t mean that cats and dogs are falling out of sky, of course, but rather that it's raining heavily. The French also love to use expressions to convey a more specific message. …
In the third of three new landmark albums on the Decca label, Nelson Freire marks his 70th birthday year with a stunning recording of Chopin’s lyrical and brilliant Piano Concerto No. 2. The recording was made in Cologne with the Gurzenich-Orchester Koln and Lionel Bringuier, one of the most talked-about of the younger generation of conductors. The release also features some favorite Chopin solo works including a Ballade, Berceuse, Polonaise and three Mazurkas.