Feature Preview: Chopin Unwrapped – Martino Tirimo at Kings Place, London [2010: February 10-13; March 10-13; June 2-5]

Written by: Taken from publicity material


Chopin Unwrapped at Kings Place is an unprecedented survey of the complete music of Frédéric Chopin in a series curated by pianist Martino Tirimo. The concerts run in week-long celebrations in February, March and June 2010. Chopin Unwrapped is produced in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute and each concert will be recorded by Classic FM Radio for future broadcast. This unique series presents the composerʼs entire output, including the chamber music, songs and piano concertos in chamber versions. Thanks to support from the Polish Cultural Institute in London, a number of distinguished Polish musicians wil take part in the series including the soprano Iwona Sobotka and the Silesian String Quartet.

Martino Tirimo writes: “Chopin possessed an unrivalled knowledge of the piano and its possibilities and the wonderful naturalness of his musical expression is often taken too much for granted. He was, in fact, a great innovator, especially harmonically, and exercised a decisive influence on composers of the French, German and Russian schools, well into the 20th century. Each concert in this series offers a wide-ranging sample of his idiom – elegance, poetry, brilliance and much more. This series, in which Chopinʼs entire oeuvre will be heard, will give the listener the opportunity to look afresh and re-evaluate the work of this composer who has enjoyed enormous and unflagging popularity for nearly 200 years and I predict that many will be surprised by the quality of the unfamiliar works.”

Week one opens with a solo recital by Tirimo which includes the first known composition, one of a pair of Polonaises which Chopin composed aged just seven. “These are relatively simple pieces compared to his mature works, but the essence is already there. We think of Mozart as the great musical prodigy of all time but I would say that Chopin is not far behind.” Also programmed in week one are two pieces rarely performed: Souvenir de Paganini and the Valse Melancolique which has become a favourite discovery of Tirimoʼs. The Galop Marquis is so unusual that “my first reaction was that it was not by Chopin, but then I found out that the piece is a musical joke depicting George Sandʼs two very lively dogs.” Sand was Baroness Duvedant, Chopinʼs lover during one of the most productive periods of his life. The Rondo in C Op. 73 is heard in this series in the version for two pianos, performed by the Nettle Markham piano duo. Many of Chopinʼs works exist in multiple versions but in Chopin Unwrapped only one version of each will be heard. Cellist Daniel Veis, accompanied by Mark Latimer, play the complete music for cello and piano.

During the second week, there will be a rare opportunity to hear the compete songs, sung by Iwona Sobotka, accompanied by David Kadouch along with some of the works of Chopinʼs extraordinary youth: the flute variations on Rossiniʼs La Cenerentola and a Polonaise from his twelfth year, among others. Beside these come the works of his maturity: the Fantasie in F minor and three of his great Ballades. There will be a special Study Day on Saturday 13 March Chopinʼs musical legacy: From Creation to Recreation with distinguished experts Professors John Rink and Jim Samson, series Editors of The Complete Chopin – A New Critical Edition (Peters Edition).

In the third week Tirimo is joined by the Silesian String Quartet for chamber versions of all the works for piano and orchestra. Also included in this week is a reconstruction by Jeffrey Kahlberg of the extraordinary Prelude in E flat minor Devilʼs Trill. For the final recital Tirimo plays the Sonata No 1 in C Minor, with its unusual slow movement with five beats to the bar, and is again joined by the Silesian String Quartet for the world premiere of the variations on Là ci darem la mano from Mozartʼs Don Giovanni in a new arrangement for piano and string quartet by Stephen Scotchmer.

“We think we know Chopinʼs music because much of it is so popular, but there are so many pieces we never hear but I believe that without Chopin music would have taken a different course” Martino Tririmo

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