Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

A Country in the Moon, by Michael Moran
Independent – London,England,UK

Review declares Michael Moran’s new book about Poland to be an “absorbing, exasperating and ultimately rewarding travelogue.”

Moran emerges from these pages as a romantic, a bon viveur, a music lover and a film buff, equally versed in the polonaises of Chopin, the novels of Joseph Conrad and the movies of Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieslowski. He conducts a clandestine affair with unhappily married Zosia, and together they explore the historic cities of her country. His sojourn comes to a premature end when the project’s rackety finances expire. The last chapters briskly fast-forward up to the death of Pope John Paul II. As for his romance with Zosia, reader, I wouldn’t dream of giving the game away.

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Chopin master returns to Barboursville
Orange County Review – Orange,VA,USA

Somewhat confusing review of young Polish pianist Jacek Kortus‘ performance in Virginia Wine Country….

Kortus’ return engagement was the fourth in a series of benefit concerts for the Chopin Foundation. This year’s event was hosted by Barboursville Winery and sponsored again by Premier Virginia Properties. As a special treat, Washington National Opera Conductor Maestro Giovanni Reggioli introduced Kortus and the Chopin pieces he would perform in the first half of Thursday’s concert. […]

Joking aside, the maestro described Chopin as “good music of the people” and said the composer’s works were “good for the first-time person or for the person who studies it for life.”

Kortus, a serious and intense young man of supreme focus, opened the program with Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne in C Minor Op. 48, No. 1. He followed with Waltz in A Flat Major Op. 34, No. 1 that conjured images of a gilded 19th century ballroom full of lords and ladies that finished with such an uplifting flourish everyone in the audience was smiling.

The third selection was Mazurkas in B Flat Major Op. 18, No. 1 and No. 4 in A Minor which began rather chillingly sad only to finish with an offer of hope. In his last selection before the intermission, he performed Chopin’s Sonata in B Flat Minor, Op. 35 where he balanced the emotion of the piece with his technical skill in moments both fiercely fast and smoothly slow. At times the piece sounded otherworldly with such vibrations it seemed the piano might simply explode from the music.

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