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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CKD248
Recording details: June 2004
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: February 2005
Total duration: 5 minutes 1 seconds

'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

Fantasy Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op 66
composer
1834; published posthumously, contrary to Chopin's wishes, by Julian Fontana in 1855

Other recordings available for download
Angela Hewitt (piano)
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Wilhelm Backhaus (piano)
Harold Bauer (piano)
Grigory Ginzburg (piano)
Irene Scharrer (piano)
Irene Scharrer (piano)
Eileen Joyce (piano)
Moura Lympany (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Fantasy Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op 66 was published posthumously in 1855 by Chopin’s lifelong friend and fellow musician, Julian Fontana. It is not known why Chopin didn’t publish it himself, but has been suggested that he was a bit too conscious of its resemblance to Moscheles’s Impromptu Op 89. It certainly has become one of his most popular compositions. The outer sections are a moto perpetuo marked allegro agitato. Even in the midst of all those notes, however, there is a melody that sings out clearly. The middle section does indeed have one of those tunes that somebody always puts words to (in this case, ‘I’m always chasing rainbows’), but it is also beautiful in its simplicity. In fact, that is what Chopin sought in the end:

‘Simplicity is everything. After having exhausted all the difficulties, after having played immense quantities of notes and more notes, then simplicity emerges with all its charm, like art’s final seal. Whoever wants to obtain this immediately will never achieve it: you can’t begin with the end. One has to have studied a lot, even tremendously, to reach this goal; it is no easy matter.’

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2004


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