Chopin Unwrapped – Martino Tirimo (4)

Polonaise in B flat, Op.posth.
2 Polonaises, Op.26 – No.1 in C sharp minor; No.2 in E flat minor
4 Mazurkas, Op.68 – No.1 in C; No.2 in A minor; No.3 in F; No.4 in F minor
3 Nouvelles Études, Op.posth. – No.1 in F minor; No.2 in D flat; No.3 in A flat
2 Nocturnes, Op.27 – No.1 in C sharp minor; No.2 in D flat
Scherzo in E, Op.54
Galop Marquis in A flat, Op.posth.
Valse in E flat, Op.posth.
Grande Valse brillante in B flat, Op.18
Cantabile in B flat, Op.posth.
Contredanse in G flat, Op.posth.
2 Nocturnes, Op.37 – No.1 in G minor; No.2 in G
3 Mazurkas, Op.56 – No.1 in B; No.2 in C; No.3 in C minor
Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52

Martino Tirimo (piano)

Reviewed by: Andrew Maisel

Reviewed: 13 February, 2010
Venue: Hall One, Kings Place, London

Martino Tirimo. Photograph: Francesco TirimoThis was the fourth concert in the Chopin Unwrapped series, Martino Tirimo’s series of recitals devoted entirely to the works of Chopin. Although there were some rarities thrown in (the Polonaise in B, composed as a seven-year-old as a starter) most of the material was very familiar. One cannot accuse Tirimo of short-changing the audience; a running time of almost two hours, excluding interval, but at times one could have wished for a little less music and more variety. The emphasis on the introspective side of Chopin in the first hour proved toughgoing, particularly in the light of uneven performance.

Having the scores throughout did not seem to help – the programme note stated they were there for the purpose of a recording. What they seemed to do was to inhibit Tirimo, opting more for the comfort of safety and for making fewer errors. Although there was a refreshing lack of artifice and a gentle persuasiveness in the Opus 26 Polonaises, Tirimo’s playing suffered from a lack of colour and a natural expressiveness making the music feel stilted and enclosed. This carried over into the Opus 68 Mazurkas, where melancholy was blighted by some heavy-handed phrasing and overloud fortissimos. Better was to come in Scherzo No.4. Finely controlled and with virtuosity kept firmly in check this was carried off with aplomb, notwithstanding a slight lack of poetic grace.

The second half was similarly uneven. The three rarities (Galop Marquis, Cantabile in B, and Contredanse) came and went with little impression. The Grande Valse brilliante was sluggish and suffered from too many pregnant pauses. The two Nocturnes, Opus 37, and the three Mazurkas, Opus 56, found Tirimo at last discovering some degree of graceful sensibility; well balanced and delicately shaded. Ballade No.4 was inquiring with a sense of wonder in its opening phrases and built excitingly to a coda full of vibrant energy.

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