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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Adaptation of the cover illustration for Franz Bendel's Hommage à Chopin, Trautwein, Berlin (1867).
Track(s) taken from CDA67803
Recording details: August 2009
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: February 2010
Total duration: 4 minutes 58 seconds

'A fascinating collection, brilliantly dispatched by Plowright' (The Mail on Sunday)

'All of these multifaceted offerings (jewels as well as gemstones) show Jonathan Plowright as beguiling in intimacy … as he is magisterial in virtuosity. Such quality will leave lesser pianists bemused, as as on Plowright's earlier superb Hyperion recordings he has been immaculately recorded' (Gramophone)

'Mompou's 11th variation is the sublimest track on the disc. It is in places like these that Plowright shows his real qualities as a virtuoso, especially his clarity of texture and instinct for phrasing. Warmly recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Jonathan Plowright provides a fascinating conspectus of how Chopin’s example has sparked ideas in others … this disc is a delight' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Fascinating, seldom-trodden paths of the vast 19th- and 20th-century piano literature that rarely find their way onto disc … Plowright's dazzling playing can't be faulted' (The Sunday Times)

'Jonathan Plowright has assembled a towering monument to the Chopin style' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

Impromptu On the Themes of Two Preludes By Chopin
notated in 1907; based on Preludes Nos 11 in B major and 14 in E flat minor from Chopin's Op 28

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Mili Balakirev (1837–1910), godfather to a whole generation of Russian composers, was an excellent pianist, sight-reader and improviser (though the demands of his best-known work, Islamey, still one of the most technically challenging pieces in the repertoire, were apparently beyond him). Chopin’s music had an incalculable influence on his own piano compositions, many of which bear Chopinesque titles (mazurkas, nocturnes, waltzes, scherzos and even a piano sonata in B flat minor). He made an arrangement for string orchestra (published in 1904) of Chopin’s Mazurka No 7, and a transcription for solo piano (1905) of the second movement (Romanza) of the E minor Piano Concerto; he also re-orchestrated and partly re-wrote the entire concerto in 1910, and produced a four-movement Chopin Suite for orchestra in 1909. In 1907 he was persuaded by his friend Konstantin Tchernov to write down his improvisation on two of Chopin’s Op 28 Preludes, one of many works Balakirev had kept in his head for some years without getting around to notating. The result was the Impromptu on the themes of two Preludes by Chopin, the models being Preludes No 11 in B major and No 14 in E flat minor. In the latter, Chopin’s quaver triplets in C are transformed into semiquaver triplet groups in 12/16, later reassembled in octave figurations for alternate hands to bravura effect. The contrast between this and the gentle B major section, linked by a barely perceptible modulation, is satisfyingly effective because of the subtle thematic relationship between the two Chopin originals. Balakirev rouses the player in the final page to a triple forte passage marked delirando (‘deliriously’).

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2010

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