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Hyperion Records

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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
Track(s) taken from CDS44351/66
Recording details: January 1995
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: 8 minutes 47 seconds

'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)

Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op 60
composer
1845/6

Other recordings available for download
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Stephen Hough (piano)
Artur Pizarro (piano)
Alfred Cortot (piano)
Vladimir de Pachmann (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the final years of his short life, Chopin reached a new plateau of creative achievement. His sketches from these years suggest that the agony of composition, the resistance it set up, wrested from him only music of an exceptional, transcendent quality. And nowhere is this clearer than in the three great extended works of 1845–6: the Barcarolle Op 60, Polonaise-Fantasy Op 61 and Cello Sonata Op 65. When he composed his only Barcarolle, artistic appropriations of this popular genre (effectively a gondolier’s song) were to be found mainly in opera, but there were also examples in Lieder (as, for example, in Schubert’s Auf dem Wasser zu singen and Auf dem See), and some in post-classical traditions of popular pianism (including some of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words: the ‘Gondellied’ in A major and ‘Venetian gondolieras’). However, piano works with this title were invariably simple in design and texture, and usually a straightforward transfer from the operatic genre. So Chopin’s monumental work, with its complex formal organization, was quite unlike anything else in piano music at the time, though it did of course set a precedent (Liszt, Fauré, and many others).

A unique synthesis of extended ternary form, sonata form and fantasy, the Barcarolle is separated from its sentimental archetype by an unbridgeable gulf. And the gulf is widened and deepened by some of Chopin’s most sophisticated harmonies, including lengthy chromatic modulations that are seemingly without a clear tonal goal, and a use of dissonance that extends well beyond classical norms. At the same time—and this makes the work all the more powerful—the composer retains the principal outward features of the popular genre: the 12/8 metre, the moderate tempo, the measured, ostinato-like, rocking accompaniment and the cantilena melodic line led in double notes (mostly thirds and sixths). It is worth noting that these generic features do appear in several earlier works by Chopin, including all four Ballades and above all the G major Nocturne Op 37 No 2, really a barcarolle in disguise. But in the end Op 60 stands as a solitary masterpiece, carrying the gentle swaying lyricism of the vernacular genre through to the powerfully climactic perorations of its final stages.

from notes by Jim Samson © 2009


Other albums featuring this work
'Chopin: Late Masterpieces' (CDA67764)
Chopin: Late Masterpieces
'Chopin: Piano Sonatas' (CKD250)
Chopin: Piano Sonatas
MP3 £8.00FLAC £10.00ALAC £10.00 CKD250  Download only  
'Chopin: Piano Sonatas Nos 2 & 3' (CDA30006)
Chopin: Piano Sonatas Nos 2 & 3
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £8.50 CDA30006  Hyperion 30th Anniversary series  
'Chopin: Piano Sonatas Nos 2 & 3' (CDA67706)
Chopin: Piano Sonatas Nos 2 & 3
'Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 3 – Chopin & Mendelssohn' (APR5573)
Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 3 – Chopin & Mendelssohn
'The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 1 – Vladimir de Pachmann, Aleksander Michalowski & Landon Ronald' (APR5531)
The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 1 – Vladimir de Pachmann, Aleksander Michalowski & Landon Ronald

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