Chopin News, Reviews & Previews:

A remarkable pianist on a curious quest
San Francisco Chronicle – CA, USA

SF Critic admires the passion, but is not enthralled with the substance of a “fascinating but frustrating demi-recital” presented by Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin that is devoted to 19th-century pianist -composer Leopold Godowsky…..

Sometimes, as with someone who wants to show you his bottle-cap collection, you just have to smile and nod appreciatively.

For at least one listener, Hamelin’s barnstorming run through Godowsky’s splashy oeuvre – seven of his 53 famous Etudes based on Chopin, and the Symphonic Metamorphoses on Johann Strauss’ “Wine, Women and Song” – was just such an occasion.

To be sure, Hamelin’s execution was never short of amazing. Playing from memory, he tore through these intricate showpieces with dexterity and an extraordinary control of weight and voicing. Textures emerged from the thickets of notes with surprising clarity, and a few of the etudes – in particular the two for left hand alone – boasted a melancholy beauty that was striking.

But unless a listener is already committed to the cause, these are not pieces that benefit from being heard in large quantities. The approach is often similar – Chopin’s music is adorned and then adorned again – and the ratio of notes to music can seem very high. The Strauss paraphrase, without even Chopin’s genius underlying it, felt endless.

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Chopin in the Blogosphere:

Largo by Frederic Chopin
By Jeremiah Jones(Jeremiah K. Jones)

Advice for how to play Chopin in church…

This is another recording from the book, Classical Music for the Church Service: Volume 2. Although Frederic Chopin wasn’t really known for writing music for worship (unlike Johann Sebastian Bach), you will understand why this selection was included in a volume of music for worship services. It has a very hymn-like feel and structure. It is a simple melody moving in a series of chords

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