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Track(s) taken from CDS44351/66

Piano Sonata No 1 in C minor, Op 4


Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Recording details: June 1990
Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, USA
Produced by Ward Botsford
Engineered by Ward Botsford
Release date: November 2008
Total duration: 24 minutes 44 seconds

Cover artwork: Frédéric Chopin in concert at the Hotel Lambert, Paris (1840) by Antar Teofil Kwiatowski (1809-1891)
Bibliothèque Polonaise, Paris / Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Images


‘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’ (Classics Today)

‘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’ (Classical Source)
The Piano Sonata No 1 in C minor Op 4 was written while Chopin was still studying with Elsner at the Warsaw Conservatoire. It is generally reckoned to be one of his least successful compositions. There are no reviews or reports of it ever having been played in the nineteenth century, let alone by the composer. This work exhibits little of Chopin’s unique later style and is an effortful attempt to struggle with formal sonata structure. The opening Allegro, pianists will tell you, is technically awkward. Interest picks up in the pretty but derivative Minuet only to be quelled by the meandering Larghetto in 5/4. Perhaps the most successful movement is the Presto finale, almost a moto perpetuo in its constant quaver motion.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

Chopin étudiait encore avec Elsner au Conservatoire de Varsovie lorsqu’il écrivit sa Sonate pour piano nº 1 en ut mineur op. 4, considérée, de l’avis général, comme une de ses compositions les moins couronnées de succès. Aucune critique, aucun compte-rendu ne donne à penser qu’elle fut jouée au XIXe siècle, encore moins par Chopin lui-même. Dans cette œuvre où filtre peu de son style tardif si unique, il tente laborieusement d’en découdre avec la structure de sonate conventionnelle. L’Allegro initial est, les pianistes vous le diront, techniquement délicat. Puis l’intérêt revient dans le joli, quoique banal, Menuet, mais pour être aussitôt étouffé par le flexueux Larghetto à 5/4. Le mouvement le plus réussi est peut-être le finale Presto, presque un moto perpetuo en sa constante progression de croches.

extrait des notes rédigées par Jeremy Nicholas © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Die Klaviersonate Nr. 1 c-Moll op. 4 komponierte er, als er noch bei Elsner am Warschauer Konservatorium studierte. Sie zählt im Allgemeinen zu seinen schwächsten Kompositionen. Es gibt keine Kritiken oder Berichte, ob sie im 19. Jahrhundert jemals aufgeführt wurde, ganz zu schweigen durch den Komponisten selbst. Das Werk zeigt wenig von Chopins späterem unverwechselbaren Stil und ist ein angestrengter Versuch, sich mit der Sonatenform auseinanderzusetzen. Das Allegro des ersten Satzes—die Pianisten können ein Lied davon singen—ist technisch knifflig. Das hübsche, aber etwas konventionelle Menuett weckt kaum mehr Interesse, das aber beim wenig zielstrebigen Larghetto im 54-Takt wieder abnimmt. Der vielleicht attraktivste Satz ist das abschließende Presto, mit seiner durchgehenden Achtelbewegung, fast ein Moto perpetuo.

aus dem Begleittext von Jeremy Nicholas © 2008
Deutsch: Ludwig Madlener

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