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Track(s) taken from CDS44351/66

Variations brillantes in B flat major on 'Je vends des scapulaires' from Hérold's Ludovic, Op 12

composer
1833

Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Recording details: June 1992
Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York, USA
Produced by Adam Abeshouse
Engineered by Adam Abeshouse
Release date: November 2008
Total duration: 9 minutes 0 seconds

Cover artwork: Frédéric Chopin in concert at the Hotel Lambert, Paris (1840) by Antar Teofil Kwiatowski (1809-1891)
Bibliothèque Polonaise, Paris / Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1

Other recordings available for download

Artur Pizarro (piano)

Reviews

'Hyperion's big deal … Ohlsson is a powerful and committed player, and is afforded very good sound by the engineers … this is almost certainly how these pieces were played in Chopin's time' (The Mail on Sunday)

'This is an oustanding achievement, which any genuine Chopin lover and student of Romantic music should own … a landmark in the recording of Chopin's music … Garrick Ohlsson and Hyperion deserve the greatest success in bringing this important undertaking to such a consistently impressive conclusion' (International Record Review)

'An attractively priced box set … Ohlsson is in a class of his own' (Pianist)

'The collaborative works receive particularly rewarding performances … Ohlsson arguably offers more consistent artistry than Biret, Ashkenazy, Magaloff, and Harasiewicz' (ClassicsToday.com)

'Garrick Ohlsson’s complete survey of everything Chopin wrote for piano (including chamber music, songs, and for piano and orchestra) will delight the completist and the Chopin connoisseur. Ohlsson (who won the Chopin International Piano Competition in 1970) gives us accounts of this wondrous repertoire in weighty and commanding style, aristocratic and impulsive (but not lacking light and shade or contemplative contrasts) and, at times, very sensitive and searching. These vivid recordings were made in the second half of the 1990s and have previously appeared on the Arabesque label. They now sit very well in Hyperion’s catalogue' (ClassicalSource.com)
In May 1833 Chopin heard Louis Joseph Ferdinand Herold’s (1791–1833) opera Ludovic, finished by Hálevy. The Variations brillantes “Je vends des Scapulaires” Op 12, based on the homonymous aria from the opera, are Chopin’s final variation set and a virtual farewell to the virtuoso style cherished in Paris. Written after the early nocturnes and etudes and in the year he wrote his first ballade, it almost represents a regression or a final concession to the bravura stile brillante, so much clichéd—in particular in variation form—that it entered dictionaries as such: 'First there are simple quavers and triplets, then arpeggios, syncopations and octaves, without forgetting the adagio in the relative mode and the tempo di polacca' (Castil-Blaze, Dictionnaire de Musique Moderne, 1825). Although Arthur Loesser called it 'a masterpiece in its own way', already at the time Schumann called it 'writing à la mode' and thought that 'they belong altogether to the drawing-room or concert-hall, and … are far removed from any poetic sphere'. This piece, together with Bolero and Rondo, Op 16, represents Chopin’s last attempt at such conventional and fairly anonymous writing that perpetrated the tradition of contemporary concert-hall crowd pleasers. Nevertheless, Franz Liszt apparently referred to the set as Chopin’s favourite piece of his own, commenting after hearing Chopin play it for himself: 'Such a poetic temperament as Chopin’s never existed, nor have I ever heard such delicacy and refinement of playing. The tone, though small, was absolutely beyond criticism, and although his execution was not forcible, nor by any means fitted for the concert room, still it was perfect in the extreme.'

from notes by Robert Andres © 2005

Other albums featuring this work

Chopin: Piano Sonatas
Studio Master: CKD250Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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