A finalist in the XVII International Chopin Piano Competition, Japanese pianist Aimi Kobayashi shows her evident sympathy for the music of the Polish composer here. His Second Piano Sonata, complete with its Funeral March finale, is played with winning poetry in a fine performance that’s alive to the vividly contrasted moments of light and shade. The more demonstrative music of Liszt, too, finds Kobayashi an imaginative interpreter. She tackles the Dante Sonata with energy, and tunes into the contemplative mood of the three Petrarch Sonnets with creativity and personality.
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.
Well into the first half of the 20th century, Sergei Bortkiewicz remained an unreconstructed Romantic composer, a product of the influences of Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin, and Robert Schumann in his youth, and his long career showed little change in this style. Bortkiewicz's solo piano music offers flashes of technical brilliance, and in some ways it is comparable to the early work of his Russian contemporaries, Sergei Rachmaninov and Alexander Scriabin, though its sentimentality often makes it seem derivative of parlor music of the fin de siècle.
This grande dame of the piano world, possessed of an extraordinarily modest, charming personality – focused on the music, devoted to deeply understanding it – has performed three times during the Chopin and His Europe Festival at the invitation of The Fryderyk Chopin Institute. The recordings on this album come from her concerts in 2010 (when she performed the Piano Concerto in F minor op. 21 with the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra under the baton of Christopher Warren-Green) and 2014 (when she performed a recital including, among other items, the Nocturnes presented here). A presentation of – by nature – completely different interpretations, which nonetheless form an extraordinarily coherent artistic whole. Superb creations displaying the most beautiful side of pianistic art.
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.