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Chopin: 24 Preludes & Piano Sonata No. 2
Jean-Philippe Collard returns to Chopin after 33 years of silence. It has taken him decades to feel comfortable with the composer. Today he is confident in his approach to this repertory and has no qualms about his interpretative options.
Jean-Philippe Collard sees this disc as a break, a renewal. All his previous records were released on EMI. Today he has changed labels, repertoire, sound engineer . . . These developments enable him to escape a certain routine, to put himself on the line. There are countless benchmark versions of these pieces but the French pianist has not sought to measure himself against them and his approach to the composer is honest and totally sincere. Chopin represents a genuine challenge, for which Jean-Philippe Collard has identified a style that is his alone.
With a discography of more than 50 titles under his belt, Jean-Philippe Collard is a regular visitor to the foremost musical venues of the old continent and the other side of the Atlantic – from Carnegie Hall to the Teatro Colón by way of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Royal Albert Hall. A well-known figure to the French public, a great favourite with audiences in the United States, he can boast of having played with the top conductors and orchestras all over the world.
Still as unaffected as ever, direct and jovial, he’s more likely to talk of his private happiness than his public successes: a fulfilling family life alongside his wife and five children, with close and loyal friendships . . A nature lover, a DIY enthusiast in his spare time, this gentleman pianist cultivates more than one secret garden.
"Whatever the repertory I tackle, my priority has always been piano sound. I look for what the pianist Samson François called the ‘Blue Note’, that is to say, the ideal note at the ideal moment. The note in all its plenitude. Once you gain control of the sound, you can control the discourse, the momentum of the musical phrase. The experience of recording allows you to go still further in that quest. Paradoxically, recordings are responsible for a certain uniformity of sound. When I was young, I could recognise the greatest pianists by their sound. Today, unfortunately, piano playing is dominated by a kind of linearity."
“The Preludes confirm that he has rekindled his early love of the composer...Collard's bracingly unsentimental view of Chopin informs the 'Funeral' Sonata...Everywhere there are lovely touches - listen to the Scherzo, invested with such easeful, elegant phrasing” Gramophone Magazine, January 2014
“These are some of the most rugged performances I've heard of these works and they're not for the faint-hearted. Collard's admirers need not hesitate for this is bold and characterful playing and he remains a force to be reckoned with.” International Record Review, February 2014
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Nick Van Bloss plays Chopin
The last of Chopin’s three sonatas for piano was finished in 1844. The piano writing is at once perfect for the instrument and taxing for the pianist because everything is so clear that even the smallest fluff or misjudgement of dynamics makes itself heard.
Chopin’s Preludes have come to be regarded as one of the monuments of the early Romantic movement in music, he worked on the Preludes between 1836 and 1839 but it’s possible some of them were in his mind before that. The idea of a set of 24 pieces in all keys obviously stems from Bach’s ‘48’, but Chopin has gone about the task in his own way.
Nick Van Bloss’s early musical training began as a chorister at Westminster Abbey and was followed by studies at the Royal College of Music with Yonty Solomon. In 1994, aged 26, Nick van Bloss played a televised recital in Poland at the Chopin Festival. This proved to be his last public appearance before he retired from playing completely for 15 years. In April 2009, van Bloss made a 'comeback' concert at London's Cadogan Hall, playing a concerto by Bach and Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra. The concert, uniformly reviewed as a 'Triumph' by London's critics, attracted massive media interest from all over the globe. Since then, Nick van Bloss has performed in the United States, Japan, Sweden, Austria, with the English Chamber Orchestra, and conducted concertos from the keyboard. His recording schedule, as part of a long-term relationship with Nimbus Records, will include Beethoven’s ‘Diabelli Variations’ and selected Sonatas, a CD of Sonatas by Mozart, and a recording of several Piano Concertos by Mozart with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, directed by van Bloss from the piano. A feature film about his life is currently in development.
“His tone, while more varied by degrees than in kind, is beautifully moderated, unmarred by the stridency that Chopin abhorred. His phrasing is admirably clear...but the Achilles' heel here is a want of rhythmic and tonal variety.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ***
“He reveals himself as the complete Chopin interpreter by meeting all the multifarious pianistic challenges embodied in these extraordinarily diverse ‘miniatures’...Van Bloss proves himself as much a master of controlled rage as gentle lyricism... it takes its place among the most recommendable.” MusicWeb International, 28th October 2013
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Chopin: Piano Works
Capriccio in F sharp minor, Op. 76 No. 1
Intermezzo in B flat minor, Op. 117 No. 2
Intermezzo in B minor, Op. 119 No. 1
Impromptu No. 4 in C sharp minor, Op. 66 'Fantaisie-Impromptu'
Prelude Op. 28 No. 17 in A flat major
Étude Op. 25 No. 1 in A flat major 'Aeolian Harp'
Étude Op. 10 No. 12 in C minor ‘Revolutionary'
Widmung S566 after Schumann (Liebeslied)
Concert Paraphrase on Rigoletto, S.434 after Verdi's opera
Impromptu in E flat major, D899 No. 2
Impromptu in G flat major, D899 No. 3
Impromptu in A flat major, D899 No. 4
Bunte Blätter, Op. 99: Stücklein
Intermezzo from Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26
Grigory Sokolov: a living legend of the piano whose public performances and recordings are as rare as the man is secretive. He stepped away from the limelight years ago, refusing to be idolised by a society avid for imagery. Under the winged fingers of the giant you hear the vibrancy of an inner song, wordless but not illegible. June 7 1990: concert and recording of Chopin’s Preludes by Grigory Sokolov, still relatively unknown in France.
The record receives high praise from the critics.
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Chopin through Text and Sound (2CD)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11: Allegro maestoso
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11: Romance
Fantasia in F minor, Op. 49
Andante spianato & Grande Polonaise, Op. 22
Preludes (24), Op. 28
Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57
Étude Op. 10 No. 3 in E major 'Tristesse'
Polonaise No. 7 in A flat major, Op. 61 'Polonaise-fantaisie'
Prelude Op. 28 No. 15 in D flat major ‘Raindrop'
Waltz No. 14 in E minor, Op. post., KKIVa:15, B 56
Mazurka No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 6 No. 2
Nocturne No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2
Amongst all the composers whom Horszowski played, his Chopin stood out. Able to project a tone that filled space, the piano and music became transformed. Decades of global searching have brought to light these once lost performances, released here for the first time. Also discovered was a Chopin biography that Horszowski notated and translations of each passage are provided in the accompanying booklet.
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Chopin: Waltzes, Preludes, Sonatas 1928-1931 (2CD)
Recorded 1928 and 1931 by Columbia
Contains all the known recordings made by the legendary French pianist Robert Lortat (1885-1938).
Lortat studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Louis Diémer (1843-1919} who is considered the father of the modern French piano school and who was the teacher of Alfred Cortot and Robert Casadesus. Diémer G&T recording of Chopin's Nocturne Op. 27 No. 2 made in 1904 is one of the earliest ever recording of Chopin.
Lortat, who won several top prizes and distinctions, toured France, Germany, England and North America playing recitals consisting of all-Chopin programs presented as "complete" in cycles of six recitals.
He was conscripted to the French army during the First World War and was a casualty of a poison gas attack causing chronic ill-health thereafter. His concerts activity was curtailed, but he continued mainly as a teacher.
His Chopin recordings (which are highly sought after by record collectors), being among the earliest such projects ever made, reveal a consummate, distinctive musical personality with authoritative style and fluent, well-controlled technique.
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Chopin & Dutilleux: Complete Preludes Vol.1
Alexandra Dariescu (piano)
Alexandra Dariescu presents the first disc in a 'Trilogy of Preludes' containing the complete works of this genre by Chopin and Dutilleux.
Frederic Chopin composed his 24 preludes, op.28, one in each of the 12 major and 12 minor keys, between 1835 and 1839, commissioned by the pianist, publisher, impresario and piano manufacturer Camille Pleyel.
Henri Dutilleux’s 3 Preludes were not designed as a set but composed at intervals between 1973 and 1994. Each Prelude is dedicated to a great Pianist: Artur Rubinstein (D’ombre et de silence), Claude Helffer (Sur um meme accord) and Eugene Istomin (Le jeu des contraries).
Alexandra finds the form of the Prelude as relevant today as in Chopin's time and was drawn to Dutilleux's use of polyphony and harmony in his fascinating contribution to an established genre.
Alexandra Dariescu is one of the most talented pianists of her generation and was featured as BBC Music Magazine’s Rising Star in June 2011. She has won the Guildhall Wigmore Prize and the Romanian Ambassador‘s prize for her outstanding contribution to promoting Romania’s image in the UK, and is currently a YCAT artist.
“There's much superb playing to enjoy: she is particularly good at creating atmosphere through her sound, which is cushioned, refined and beautifully balanced...the richness of Chopin's fleeting visions possibly needs to be complemented at the appropriate moments by something darker” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ***
“Dariescu is a deeply impressive exponent of both composers’ work, bringing to every piece the lucidity and sensitivity it commands” Sunday Times, 9th June 2013
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Chopin Compact Edition 1991: 24 Préludes Op. 28 and other piano works
Paris Tsenikoglou plays Debussy & Chopin
Paris Tsenikoglou (piano)
Greek pianist Paris Tsenikoglou won first prize at the Athens International Piano Competition in 2001 at the young age of 12 years old, having given his first public recital at the age of 11 performing Bach’s Goldberg variations amongst other works.
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