Ballades No.3 in A flat, Op.47; No.4 in F minor, Op.52
Mazurkas Opp.59, 63 & 68/4
Polonaises in F sharp minor, Op.44; in A flat, Op.53
Piotr Anderszewski (piano)
Recorded June 2003 in Air Lyndhurst Studios, London
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: October 2003
CD No: VIRGIN CLASSICS 5456202
Piotr Anderszewski’s new Chopin recital is magnetic both in interpretation and artistry. Although he sees Chopin as a Romantic poet, he also portrays his music as being a melting pot of emotions and structures.
In technical terms, Anderszewski can ride the rapids with the best of them. What is especially striking here is his personal and sympathetic strategy with the music – on one level shaping and shading the pieces with mesmerising beauty and subtlety, while, on the other, opening wide the implications of Chopin’s harmony and constructions. These are not renditions for the salon.
The six opening mazurkas (the three each of opuses 59 and 63) are revealed with a vein of fantasy and poetry, and a withdrawal into interior territory. The dreamy, time-taken A flat mazurka from Op.59 is lovingly shaped but with a distinct temperament of strength through renewal. Anderszewski is a friend to the music’s elusiveness, as he is to searching beyond the notes – phrases speak volumes, notes hang in the air, his touch can be feather-light, his tone can ravish, yet he is no stranger to the fullest fortissimos.
This then is a wide-ranging recital in terms of exposition. Anderszewski isn’t so much interventionist as seeking to bring out the narrative elements of this music; the A flat Ballade is a case in point where paragraphs are given a particular emphasis without compromising bigger spans. There can also be the most beguilingly simple unfolding of lines; the heaven-sent opening of the F minor Ballade is both rarefied and straight to the heart.
Anderszewski takes a dramatic and bold view of the big F sharp minor Polonaise – massive and rhetorical with melting lyrical asides. The very popular Op.53 Polonaise doesn’t succumb to empty display – this is a thinking man’s performance. Another Mazurka, the F minor from the Op.68 set, returns us to an intangible and fragile world, and makes for a perfect wind-down encore.
With outstanding recorded sound, present, full and warm, this is a notable CD of individual and sensitive realisations.