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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CKD250
Recording details: June 2004
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: February 2006
Total duration: 31 minutes 14 seconds

'Winner of the 1990 Leeds piano competition, the versatile Portuguese-American pianist Artur Pizarro made some fine Beethoven recordings for Linn before turning to Chopin with a collection of favourite solo works entitled 'Reminiscences'. Now he brings his energy, passion and refinement to the harmonically complex Barcarolle, and true virtuoso panache to the Variations brillantes. Romantic music comes naturally to Pizarro; his delicate touch and sense of lyrical line in the second and third sonatas are as elegant and assured as these wonderful works demand' (The Observer)

'Yet it is hard not to be swept along by his torrential but sensitively voiced Chopin interpretations. It is like Chopin played by Liszt. There is a wide variety of colour and touch (as well as a huge energy)—the Second Sonata's funeral march exceptionally austere, its opening movement clangorous and impulsive. The B minor sonata (Op 58)—Chopin at the peak of his genius—is done with a driving force that yet allows its melodic inspirations rich scope' (The Sunday Times)

'When Artur Pizarro released his first Chopin CD (Reminiscences) on Linn Records, the clarity of his playing came as a revelation. It shouldn't have, because that particular characteristic of this distinguished pianist was already well-established. Something special, clearly, was going on. And it continues in his latest Chopin collection, which includes the second and third sonatas. Though Pizarro catches all the epic qualities and heroic elements in the second sonata, his playing is entirely free of bluster and rhetoric. It is so clear in its detail it is almost transparent. In the great funeral march there is nothing portentous, just sheer poetry, and the tender lyricism he finds in the middle section will break your heart. By comparison, the third sonata is a dramatic tour de force, with physical power and intellectual command the hallmarks of a very superior performance. A highly collectable disc from an outstanding pianist' (The Herald)

'Listen to Artur Pizarro play the same sonata [No 2]. Here the architectural structure is evident and the musicality never in question. His brilliant rendition of the early Variations brillantes and Barcarolle on his new disc is on par with the greatest Chopin interpreters. The majestic Sonata No 3 can hardly be bettered and with the fine natural recorded sound this could very well be the Chopin release of the year' (Pianist)

Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58
composer
1844

Allegro maestoso  [13'49]
Largo  [9'46]

Other recordings available for download
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Stephen Hough (piano)
Lev Oborin (piano)
Percy Grainger (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor Op 58 was the last of Chopin’s three piano sonatas, written in 1844 during the years of his full maturity as a composer, and in contrast to the ‘Sonata funèbre’ it moves closer to conformity with both the formal and the generic archetypes of what was already becoming recognized as German sonata-symphonic thought. It is as though having come to terms with the four-movement sonata in Op 35, approaching it obliquely by way of the familiar ‘Chopin genres’ of the early 1830s, the composer now felt able to tackle this weighty genre on its own terms. This is apparent in the close-knit motivic argument—the developing variation—of the first movement, and in the measured tread—late Beethoven, late Schubert—of the slow movement. There are some parallels with Op 35, including the sequence of the inner movements where the scherzo precedes the slow movement, and again the inverted reprise of the first movement, but in most respects the two works are poles apart. The outer movements point up the contrast. There could be nothing further from the elliptical, understated finale of Op 35 than the grandiloquent sonata rondo with which Op 58 races, or rather gallops, to its bravura coda. This at least is a more conventional way to end a sonata! As for the first movement, this presents us with a much more closely argued thematicism than its counterpart in Op 35. The principal theme is strong and distinctive, but it is quickly broken down into motivic-contrapuntal working in a process of continuous development and transformation that then characterizes much of the movement. Considerable heads of tension are built up by this process, both in the exposition and in the development, and it is the function of the Nocturne-like second theme—one of Chopin’s happiest inspirations—to resolve them.

from notes by Jim Samson © 2009


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