Stephen Hough joins the celebrations for Chopin s 200th birthday with a disc containing much of the composer s most extraordinary music, written in the last years of his life where the expressive possibilities of his art were constantly unfolding and he imbued his favored forms with previously unknown levels of complexity and emotional depth. This disc includes the intoxicatingly ornamented Berceuse Op 57 and the sublime Barcarolle in F sharp major as well as the Polonaise-Fantasy in A flat major and the towering Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor. Also included are two late Nocturnes that demonstrate how Chopin s art had evolved since he first composed in that genre in his youth. The program is completed by a selection of Mazurkas, each a tiny jewel, containing no less mastery than their larger counterparts, and providing moving sonic evidence of the contemplative profundity of Chopin s late style. Stephen Hough s extraordinarily sensitive playing is informed by his limitless technique and engaging musical imagination.
The Polish pianist Halina Czerny-Stefanska (1922 - 1982) enjoyed a more substantial reputation among piano buffs than among music-lovers in general until she was unexpectedly shot to prominence by a mistake that got her talked about all around the world. In the early 1950s she had performed the First Concerto of Chopin under Vaclav Smetacek in a recording issued by the Czech label Supraphon; when EMI reissued the performance in 1965 it was attributed to Dinu Lipatti, the Romanian pianist whose premature death in 1950 robbed classical music of one of its brightest stars.
In 2004, EMI released The Perlman Edition, a limited-edition 15-CD box set featuring many of his finest EMI recordings as well as newly compiled material and RCA Red Seal released a CD titled Perlman reDISCOVERED which includes material recorded in 1965 by a young Itzhak Perlman.
Almost four hours of music constitutes exceptional value especially when, tucked away among a selection of Mazurkas, is Chopin's early "Variations on a German National Air". Vásáry charms you into wondering why it is so rarely heard.
Horowitz proves on this CD why he was/is recognized as one of the greatest performers of all time. This CD has a collection of music that ranges from soft and serene to vigorous and powerful. Horowitz himself adds more emotion to each piece, and this CD displays both his talent as a piano player and Chopin's wide variety of composition. Chopin wrote some of the hardest music to play, and very few people can play it well and consistent. Horowitz does both at an extraordinary level. If you like either Chopin or Horowitz, this is a MUST.
Chopin has been a central part of Ashkenazy's repertory since his participation in the International Chopin Competition at Warsaw in 1955, when he won second prize at the age of eighteen. During the years 1974-1984 Ashkenazy recorded his acclaimed survey of Chopin's solo piano music. In the early part of his recording career he had recorded selected works and from time to time he has revisted key pieces in the studio. This new recital brings together a selection of late Chopin pieces and includes one of Ashkenazy's favourite nocturnes, Op.62 no.1 in B major, a piece which he regularly performs as an encore at his recitals.