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Track(s) taken from CKD248

Polonaise in A flat major, Op 53

composer
1842; nick-named 'Heroic'

Artur Pizarro (piano)
Recording details: June 2004
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: February 2005
Total duration: 7 minutes 26 seconds
 
1

Other recordings available for download

Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Ignacy Jan Paderewski (piano)
Grigory Ginzburg (piano)
Walter Gieseking (piano)

Reviews

'Pizarro's playing is distinctive, however: lean and muscular, rather than sentimentally refined. Occasionally, he veers towards a mood of dark, high Romanticism more associated with Liszt than Chopin, but his approach pays off in the brooding introspection of his performances of the nocturnes, while there's an earthiness in some of the valses and mazurkas that reflects on their origins in folk music' (The Guardian)» More

'Classical music purists and Chopin aficionados should not be put off by the Classic FM-type title of this disc of Chopin piano music, or by the repertoire chosen by Artur Pizarro, a very distinguished pianist (though I'm not convinced how widely that fact is realised). Pizarro's choice of pieces might resemble a selection of Chopin favourites and pops, but he brings to the most familiar music a spellbinding array of insights in this set of performances, which admirably display his intelligence and originality of thought, along with breathtakingly sensitive playing which allows Chopin's music to breathe. Listen to the heartstopping, hushed versions of the Nocturnes in B Major and C sharp minor, the achingly beautiful performance of the D flat Nocturne, and Pizarro's dry, light, super-articulate playing of that perennial barnstormer the 'Grande valse brillante', to see what I mean. Even alongside legendary recordings by such pianists as Rubinstein, this collection features some of the finest Chopin playing on record' (The Herald)

'The sound is certainly spectacular, with the distinctively rich bass and bright upper register of his favoured Blüthner grand beautifully caught by the Linn engineers. Pizarro's playing itself is interesting and makes you take notice … his Mazurkas are excellent, as is his passionate rendition of the famous Polonaise. Indeed, this could be, for me, the pick of the disc, with the pent-up tension and superbly even left hand octaves making for thrilling listening' (MusicWeb International)» More
‘Héroique’, the Polonaise in A flat Major, Op 53, took form at the same time (1842-43) as the fourth ballad and the fourth scherzo. Already the contemporary accounts of its performance invoked images of patriotism, nationalism and the call to arms. Chopin seemed to be unhappy when the piece was played fast and did not increase volume much in the octaves (Gutman/Niecks). According to Liszt, the composer often played the episode in F minor (bars 138-151) ‘like the muffled rumbling of a distant cannon’. In this polonaise, Chopin no longer used the form of the early Warsaw ones and instead reinterpreted it as an evocation of past splendour and a symbol of Poland, a true agent of cultural nationalism. Indeed, works like this one became a model for composers who referred to their own native folk music and thus launched the so-called ‘national schools’.

from notes by Robert Andres 2005

Other albums featuring this work

Chopin: The Complete Works
CDS44351/6616CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Chopin: The Great Polonaises
CDH55382Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Grigory Ginzburg – His early recordings – 2
APR5672Download only
Paderewski – His final recordings
APR5636Download only
Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings
APR7501Download only
Walter Gieseking – The complete Homocord recordings and other rarities
APR6013for the price of 1 — Download only