Chopin
Impromptu in G flat, Op.51
Ballade in F minor, Op.52
Berceuse, Op.57
3 Mazurkas, Op.50
Polonaise in A flat, Op.53
Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21
Nelson Freire (piano)

Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
Lionel Bringuier

Concerto recorded 3-5 March 2013 in Philharmonie, Cologne; other works on 19 & 20 December 2013 in Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg
CD No: DECCA 478 5332
Duration: 66 minutes
Reviewed: July 2015

Beautifully recorded, open, tangible and unprocessed, leading up to the Concerto Nelson Freire gives an unaffected recital of Chopin solos that embrace a spontaneous, beguiling and eloquent Impromptu, a Ballade that is at once direct yet elusive and most sensitively realised with a range of colours and dynamics, then a dreamy Berceuse followed by a trio of Mazurkas that are respectively earthy, teasing and mercurial – the music’s complexities unravelled without denuding inherent enigmas – and to round things up a Polonaise that is noble and pulsating.

With a detailed and alert accompaniment from Lionel Bringuier and the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne, Freire continues to demonstrate why he is one of the most discriminating pianists around, for this account of the F-minor Piano Concerto – lively and malleable in the first movement, distinguished by strength, affection and old-world charm, then hauntingly expressive in the nocturne-like Larghetto, and finally dancing vivaciously – is the epitome of innate Chopin-playing, completing a release that is a winner. The booklet includes an interview with Freire.

 

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