Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

A Country In The Moon is a poetic exploration
Metro – London,UK

Echoes of Chopin abound in a new travelogue through post-Communist Poland by an Australian author ‘”honoring a deathbed pledge to his uncle– an eccentric concert pianist obsessed with the music of Chopin….”

Michael Moran spent the best part of two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall based mostly in brutalist Warsaw.

He also travelled extensively elsewhere through Poland, often in the footsteps of his beloved Chopin, who provides a silent accompaniment to his wanderings.

Recalling something of WG Sebald, Moran’s poetic exploration of Poland’s deeply chequered past mixes the recent rapid changes that followed the collapse of communism with Poland’s wider, shifting history of loss, occupation and mass population displacement under the Russians and the Germans.

Moran is a sensitive, intelligent companion, as able to capture the rapacious spirit and chaotic conditions of modern Poland as he is the mournful, savage ghosts of its past – the result is moving and absorbing.

See all stories on this topic

A cellist with fervor, and maturity beyond her years
Boston Globe – United State

Fiery young cellist Alisa Weilerstein gets generally high marks for her performance and personality at a Boston recital with pianist Inon Barnatan , though her Chopin is hardly the high point….

…She closed the program with Barnatan returning to the stage for a jointly sensitive reading of Chopin’s Cello Sonata (Op. 65). In this case, however, the Chopin sounded a bit too similar to the Beethoven, highlighting the way that Weilerstein’s strong musical personality seems to flood everything she plays. In other words, she is still grappling with the paradox of how to perform with such a distinctive individual stamp while avoiding a creeping sense of sameness; how to have a strong interpretive voice while still granting the temperature, moods, colors, and sensibilities of a work their own radically independent lives

See all stories on this topic

Montero’s true talent lies in the improv
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Milwaukee,WI,USA

Things go better for Gabriela Montero once she departs from the script…

Pianist Gabriela Montero played Chopin and Bach/Busoni as if she were making it up as she went along, and not in a good way.

Montero’s bangy dynamics and lurching phrasing made for an awkward, inelegant Ballade No. 3. And that implacable forward drive that is the essence of Bach’s Chaconne, as its chord pattern turns over and over, was nowhere to be found….


In the second half, Montero did make it up as she went along, and in a very good way.

Reviving a practice common in the days of Mozart, Clementi and Beethoven, she improvised on themes called out by the audience. The lively give and take between performer and patrons resulted in: Paganini’s 24th Caprice for Violin, woven into clever and sophisticated two- and three-part inventions; “The House of the Rising Sun,” percolating in ragtime and jumping in stride style; “Summertime,” re-imagined as Rachmaninoff; “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring,” in dizzying Art Tatum jazz turns and an intense Astor Piazzolla tango twist; and an “Amazing Grace” after Chopin at his most intimate.

In every case, she showed an astonishing ear, vivid imagination and canny sense of historical style. Every improvisation took the theme somewhere you never would have imagined but that made perfect sense in context. In every case, the theme went on a plausible but surprising harmonic adventure and came to satisfying closure. Montero wasn’t just noodling over tunes, she was composing on the spot at a high level. Lots of pianists can play better Chopin, but almost no one can do what she did in the second half of this concert.

See all stories on this topic

Festival puts fleet fingers to good use
Ventura County Star – Camarillo,CA,USA

Italian pianist Giuseppe Albanese hits the Ventura highway…

Ventura Music Festival artistic director Nuvi Mehta had it just right when he said Saturday’s concert was destined to create “an illusion that pianists have four hands.”

Giuseppe Albanese, a 29-year-old Italian keyboard artist who made his West Coast debut at last year’s festival, had his hands full with a program of some of the most demanding pieces in piano literature: Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata, Schubert’s “Wanderer” Fantasie, Chopin’s Polonaise-fantasie in A-flat Major and Liszt’s “Reminiscences de Norma.”

But the young Italian has more than fleet fingers. He also has a well-honed musicality that captures the relative buoyancy and melodic profusion of Schubert’s “Wanderer,” the Polish themes and rhythms so elegantly summoned by Chopin and the bravura style of Liszt.

See all stories on this topic