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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: December 1989
Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, USA
Produced by Ward Botsford
Engineered by Ward Botsford
Release date: November 2008
Total duration: 10 minutes 19 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)

Ballade No 1 in G minor, Op 23
composer
1831/5

Other recordings available for download
Stephen Hough (piano)
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Simon Barere (piano)
Eileen Joyce (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
According to Schumann at least two of the Ballades (Nos 2 and 3) were inspired by the nationalist poetry of Chopin’s compatriot Adam Mickiewicz. But Schumann’s assumption that the Ballades are programmatic is misleading. Chopin was patriotic but he was hardly a conscious propagandist, and whatever relation the Third Ballade, for example, has to Mickiewicz’s ‘Undine’ is general rather than exact. Chopin’s genius could be prompted but hardly contained by such a specific source.

The limitation of such literary parallels is immediately apparent at the start of the First Ballade. Remarkable when first written, the opening musical arch seems scarcely less original today. The rapid loss of confidence after such a resplendent introduction and the transformation of the subdued first and second subjects into outbursts of passionate declamation and song could never be reduced to a satisfying verbal equivalent, however subtle or distinguished. The cadences which conclude each phrase of the first subject are left unresolved and it takes a lengthy and agitated elaboration to resolve such unease in the assuaging second subject in E flat major. However, the music remains pensive and wistful, and only a further and triumphant shift into A major fully erases all doubts and questions. Blazing octaves lead to a capricious waltz-like variation, mischievously spiced and syncopated before a sudden descent returns us to both the principal subjects. These culminate in a coda introduced Il più forte possibile and marked Presto con fuoco. Ricocheting figuration leads to boiling scales and dramatic, recitative-like interjections before a plunge reinforced with grace notes and a mixture of contrary motion and unison octaves.

from notes by Bryce Morrison © 2004


Other albums featuring this work
'Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 3 – 11 November 1947' (APR5623)
Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 3 – 11 November 1947
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5623  Download only  
'Chopin: Ballades & Sonata No 3' (CDH55182)
Chopin: Ballades & Sonata No 3
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55182  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Chopin: Four Ballades & Four Scherzos' (CDA67456)
Chopin: Four Ballades & Four Scherzos
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £9.00ALAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £9.00 CDA67456  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Eileen Joyce – The complete Parlophone & Columbia solo recordings' (APR7502)
Eileen Joyce – The complete Parlophone & Columbia solo recordings
MP3 £16.49FLAC £16.49ALAC £16.49 APR7502  Download only  

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