Chopin Scherzi and Impromptus



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"These Scherzi are fairly wide ranging and different in character so as hardly ever played as complete sets in live recitals (except Pletnev in his 2CD Carnegie Hall concert, but his take on the 4 Scherzi, more Pletnev showing off than Chopin, will give lasting satisfaction to few I suspect!) however generally 1 or 3, the two most nationalistic tend to crop up in all Chopin recitals demonstrating both emotional depth and virtuosity. They are big works. So it is a pleasure to have all four recorded here interspersed with the altogether more fleeting and dreamy Impromptus. It works well and Deyanova is a Bulgarian who can turn it on when necessary but has an empathy and complete understanding of Chopin in fantasy mode. All these works are well shaped and played. The last word perhaps can go to a Pollini (the complete Scherzi) or Michelangeli (alas, only Nr 2) in finesse and virtuosity, but Deyanova yields nothing overall - and I emphasise "overall" as those seeking the precise keyboard dexterity of say Pollini may feel short changed, but I am referring to excitement and panache - to any other pianist in these works. The Polish pianist Lidia Grychtolowna's celebrated Diapson awarded recording on the Muza label as part of their complete edition (justly reclaiming the composer as part of their national heritage in the 1960s with these excellent recordings in first class sound and performance) was re-mastered in 1995 to CD, but is hard to find - try Ebay. Again this disc contains the Impromptus, but grouped together apart from the Scherzi. It is, despite its age, to be preferred over Pollini or Pogorelich. But the breath taking pianism (Grychtolowna was a pupil of Michelangeli) which carefully lays out each Scherzo, precludes that last degree of thrill and excitement which comes so naturally to Deyanovaa and which bubbles over here. Therefore, for me the Pole has clarity technique and authenticity, but loses out in sheer musicality to Deyanova. I really recommend you search it out though as your verdict may well be the reverse of mine and it is wonderful. The recorded sound certainly has a life of its own! The instrument's lower octaves are captured vividly while the overall tone is warm and natural. There is none of the excessive acoustic which sometimes detracts from the odd Nimbus record - perhaps most noticeably on the equally desirable (because of the playing) Liszt recitals from Alan Marks. I found the sound much more immediate and interesting than that of either Pogorelich or Pollini on DG. There is none of the airbrushed perfection of their recordings, but this Nimbus will give you more of the music and I suspect relay Chopin's intentions and soul far more faithfully. If you want Chopin's music played with heart and flair in a very nicely balanced programme this disc will provide much pleasure and joy. Highly recommended."- David

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