Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

Pianist Born to the Colors of Chopin
New York Times – United States


Veteran New York Times critic Bernard Holland isn’t thrilled about Ingrid Fliter‘s Beethoven and Schubert, but is charmed by her Chopin:

The Ingrid Fliter who appeared after intermission was a different person. She was born to play Chopin, and she knows it. The colors are many and subtle, the range of loud to soft is unusually various, and she has the sensibility for Chopin’s graceful, linear give-and-take. The pieces were the Nocturne in B and the B minor Piano Sonata. The Met Museum’s audience liked both very much.

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Cliburn Gold Medal winner’s performance “impeccable”
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery,AL,USA

Meanwhile, a Montgomery (Alabama) critic finds the Beethoven and Chopin performances by Van Cliburn Competition winner Alex Kobrin to be indistinguishable, which is a good thing…

Six Chopin pieces followed – the heroic G minor “Ballade” to start this section, the dramatic F minor “Ballade” to end it, and in between four “Impromptus,” the last of which was the familiar “Fantasie-Impromptu” best known for its lyrical second theme.

For a gold medal winner, there is no need to comment on technique. It was impeccable as expected. But what distinguished this pianist was his thoughtful approach to every phrase. In the most cerebral, expressive phrases he slowed the tempo but never lost the intensity of those phrases and found significance in each note. He saved speed for the most impassioned sections.

His program showed a special affinity for the Romantics, drawing flowing melodies and dramatic climaxes from both Beethoven and Chopin. Both composers had much the same style in Kobrin’s playing.


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Phuong Nam to release 13 albums by pianist Dang Thai Son
VietNamNet Bridge – Hanoi,Vietnam

Vietnamese press agency announces the release of the biography and a baker’s dozen of recordings by Vietnamese favorite-son pianist, (winner of the 1980 Chopin Competition) as he prepares to return to his hometown of Ho Chi Minh City…

Victor Entertainment permitted Vietnam’s Phuong Nam Film to release this collection. These are high-quality products which bring listeners poetic melodies by Tchaikovsky and romantic rhythms by Mendelssohn, Liszt, the sophistication of Ravel, and especially, immortal melodies by Chopin, whose music works account for around nine of the 13 CDs.

For the first time, the book “A pianist loved by Chopin – the Dang Thai Son story”, published by Yahama Music Media Corporation in Japan in 2003, will be published in Vietnam. The book’s author is Japanese journalist Ikuma Yoshiko, who loves the Vietnamese pianist’s music.

Dang Thai Son is the first Asian artist to win first prize at the Concours Chopin and the pianist holds the highest number of sub-prizes in the history of this music award. American pianist Isaac Stern (1920-2001), who received a Grammy for lifetime achievement in 1987, said Dang Thai Son is a musical genius.


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Richard Goode’s Gilmore Festival Prelude recital worth the wait
Kalamazoo Gazette – MLive.com – Kalamazoo,MI,USA

Goode plays great Chopin (among other things) at the Gilmore….

Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, No. 1, was first of several Chopin works. Goode’s playing here showed superlative use of dynamics and miraculous control of octave runs. Of four Chopin Mazurkas performed, the E Minor, Op. 41, No. 2, most engaged the large audience by virtue of an ingratiating mellow effect. […]

Three final Chopin pieces ended the program. Scherzo No. 4 in E Major, Op. 54, was my favorite. Goode invested drama in a work that featured a steady thematic line surrounded by bustling musical ornaments. Goode’s quick hands gloriously executed chromatic runs and challenging arpeggios. The other pieces, fine overall, were blemished by Goode’s stomping foot. The encore — what else?: another Chopin “bijou.”

Goode’s greatest strength was a consummate ability to convey beautiful musical sense, without injecting a performer’s egoistic detractions.

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Chopin in the Blogosphere:

Cultured Tangos
Blogcritics.org – Aurora,OH,USA

Yesterday it was Enrique Granados being called “The Brazilian Chopin.” Today a Blogcritics magazine writer likens Chopin to Argentinian tango-master Astor Piazzolla…

It may be that in musical retrospect, from a luxury of twenty-twenty critical hindsight, that Astor Piazzolla will be seen as having done in the twentieth century for the tango what Frederick Chopin did in the nineteenth for the waltz. It is perhaps already an accepted position. With the waltz, Chopin took an established popular form and stretched its boundaries so that what an audience might have expected to be a little ditty was recast to express heroism, sensuality, pride, or even occasional doubt. The little dance tune then, in Chopin’s slender hands, became an elegant art form, highly expressive, utterly Romantic in its ability to convey human emotion….

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Fun With Chopin

The planned Chopin marathon on BBC Radio 3 prompts a Brit blogger’s musings on Chopiniana…

I ask him if he’s seen the romantic comedy Impromptu, starring a pre-Richard Curtis Hugh Grant as the consumptive composer:

http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0102103/

It’s one of my favourite movies that people haven’t heard of. The director is James Lapine, better known for the original stagings of Sondheim musicals like Sunday In The Park With George and Into The Woods, and it has the same sense of anachronistic wit in a period setting, not least Judy Davis’s constant exclamation of ‘Balls!’

In fact, it ties in with my theme of the other day – a romance between a butch woman (Ms Davis as the cross-dressing novelist George Sand) and a fragile, stuttering man with floppy hair (guess who). Add Emma Thompson as a dim aristocrat, and Mandy Patinkin in funny, swaggering Princess Bride mode, and it’s something of a gem. How much of the Chopin history is correct I have no idea, but I’d say the film could be compared with Moulin Rouge and the BBC version of Casanova (the one with David Tennant), in eschewing period accuracy in favour of unabashed fun.

Diary at the Centre of the Earth – http://dickonedwards.co.uk/diary

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