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Chopin Sonata in B minor & 24 Preludes



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.

Chopin Sonata in B minor & 24 Preludes


"Apart from being a showcase of flawless technique, van Bloss’ interpretation offers us a perspective on Chopin’s music that is quite different from the usual grandiose romantic swagger of many twentieth-century recordings. Nowhere in his playing does he hit us over the head with sweeping gestures suitable only to the concert hall. Rather, through a reserved but sensitive approach to the keyboard, van Bloss offers us a glimpse of Chopin the salon composer. In this sense, his project is one of recovery – one that seeks to excavate the composer’s reclusive personality. And so, while this new recording makes an important musical contribution to the abundant Chopin discography, it also carries with it an implicit intellectual argument. This depth of approach makes van Bloss’ work all the more interesting and worthy of our attention."

Nick van Bloss is a brilliant pianist, with - as exemplified in his new recording of Chopin's Third Piano Sonata and the opus 28 Preludes - a comprehensive command of musical structures, a deep power of lyrical expression and a lucid ability to articulate the fastest music without exaggeration or flashiness. His gauging of pace and tempo is just about flawless, whether in the big canvas of the Sonata or the tiniest aphorism of a Prelude. It's damn near miraculous. Michael Tumelty, Glasgow Herald, 24 November 2013

'Nick van Bloss's musicianship here is not in doubt. Nor is his pianism. His tone, while more varied by degrees than in kind, is beautifully moderated, unmarried by the stridency that Chopin abhorred. His phrasing is admiriably clear. A much admired Bachian, Van Bloss is a natural when it comes to illuminating Bach's influence on Chopin, and his admirable sense of proportion reflects Chopin's reverence for Mozart.' Jeremy Siepmann, BBC Music Magazine, February 2014

'Nick van Bloss can produce a beautiful singing tone in the introvert preludes and in the deeply original slow movement of the Sonata. All in all this is a Chopin release he can be proud of'. Marius Dawn, Pianist Magazine, January 2014

Chopin playing up there with the best. Nick van Bloss reveals himself as the complete Chopin interpreter by meeting all the multifarious pianistic challenges embodied in these extraordinarily diverse ‘miniatures’ - in length but not in content. Van Bloss proves himself as much a master of controlled rage as gentle lyricism as a truly appassionato account of the D minor prelude closes this magnificent performance of the Preludes. Coupled with a strong account of the B minor sonata, it takes its place among the most recommendable. Roger Blackburn,, November 2013  

A formidable technique is one sign of an excellent pianist, especially when it goes unnoticed. Van Bloss' performance of Chopin's difficult Third Piano Sonata sounds so effortless that it is bound to inspire confidence in even the weakest of amateurs, who will come away thinking that he too can conquer this work. More than a subject of marvel, van Bloss' superb technique allows him to bring out the refined counterpoint at the heart of this music — a feature that is too often obscured by an overbearing use of the sustain pedal...Van Bloss' sensitive pedalling and articulation infuse his interpretation of Chopin's Preludes, Op 28, with a colorful spectrum of sound. Apart from being a showcase of flawless technique, van Bloss' interpretation offers us a perspective on Chopin's music that is quite different from the usual grandiose romantic swagger of many twentieth-century recordings. This depth of approach makes van Bloss' work all the more interesting and worthy of our attention., Andrew Schartmann, March 2014 

'His emotional timing in the headlong finale is impeccable.' Julian Haylock, Sinfini Music, 29th October 2013 Daily Review:

Nick van Bloss,”Chopin: Sonata in B minor & 24 Preludes” - Nick’s two previous Nimbus CDs have helped to establish the London born classical pianist as a peerless interpreter of Chopin’s work, and his latest recital delves a little more deeply into the Polish expatriate’s glittering repertoire with performances of the composer’s last three piano sonatas and the 24 Preludes. The latter work has been hailed as one of the finest achievements of early Romanticism,and van Bloss tackles it with the rare blend of poetry and precision which has become his artistic trademark. September 2013

Disc of the Day: Remember Van Bloss, Sir? Nick, you mean? The British pianist and former chorister who has Tourettes and retired for fifteen years aged 26 after a concert playing Chopin in Poland? Yes. He's playing Chopin again here to near-perfection. He touches all moods in the 24 Preludes. The G major's like a blast of sea air. Yes, a glad-to-be-alive shout of joy. Sweet melancholia touches the A major. Couldn't agree more. Longing, the E minor. He takes the Raindrop a little fast but is elastic with the beat when he needs to be. We love the thunderous speed of his B flat minor, don't we Sir? Do you think he spent fifteen years practising? Each one's a poetic thought, shaped and rounded by him. What about the Sonata? B minor, the third and last Chopin wrote. It's clarity itself, isn't it? There's no sign of apprehension, no tentative chords, no apology. It's bold and lyrical by turns, the first subject granite against the second's silk. The Scherzo devours notes and is gone in a trice. The Adagio clenches its fist and screws up its eyes with bitter regret, taking odd liberties with the rhythm. The finale alternates the schizophrenic themes, making each logical, the low tenor melody, gutsy and singing, the irrepressible semiquaver arches over music hall bass, innocent and precise. Aren't Tourettes sufferers supposed to swear involuntarily? Yes Sir. Oh well, I'm going to swear voluntarily. Bloody good listen, that. Rude but right, Sir.