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Track(s) taken from CDS44351/66

Waltz in E flat major, Op 18

composed in Vienna in 1831/2 under the title Grande valse brillante

Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Recording details: November 1995
Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York, USA
Produced by Adam Abeshouse
Engineered by Adam Abeshouse
Release date: November 2008
Total duration: 5 minutes 38 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 Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Stephen Hough (piano)
Artur Pizarro (piano)


'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 waltzes that Chopin published during his lifetime draw out contrasts between the effervescent emotions and sentimentality that we know to have contributed so much to the fashionableness of the ballroom waltz. This emerges clearly in the first of the published waltzes, the E flat major, Op 18. The main themes of the waltz brim with the bustle of the dance floor: the stirring call to the dance of the introduction, and the rising and falling motion of the opening melodies, which (as the musicologist Eric McKee has persuasively argued) Chopin meant to reflect the spinning motions of dancing couples. The contrasting themes (with melodies in thirds and in the new key of D flat major), on the other hand, have a more reflective lilt (Chopin instructs the pianist to play one of them con anima, and the soulfulness of the melody emerges palpably).

from notes by Jeffrey Kallberg © 2011

Tout comme certaines caractéristiques compositionnelles, la variété des différentes versions reflète un peu les origines sociales des valses chopiniennes. La notion même de popularité paraît résulter de divers aspects des valses. Cela vaut tout particulièrement pour les valses que Chopin publia de son vivant, celles qui, fondées sur des contrastes entre émotions effervescentes et sentimentalité, concoururent tant, nous le savons, à la vogue de la valse pour salles de bal. Ce qui est flagrant dans la première des valses publiées par Chopin, celle en mi bémol majeur op. 18. Les thèmes principaux grouillent de l’agitation de la piste de danse: ainsi l’entraînante invitation à la danse de l’introduction, ou encore le mouvement ascendant et descendant des mélodies inaugurales que Chopin voulait (le musicologue Eric McKee l’a montré de façon convaincante) comme le reflet du tournoiement des couples de danseurs. Les thèmes contrastifs (avec des mélodies en tierces et dans le nouveau ton de ré bémol majeur), en revanche, présentent des inflexions davantage réfléchies. (Chopin demande au pianiste de jouer l’un d’entre eux con anima, et l’émotion de la mélodie affleure, palpable.)

extrait des notes rédigées par Jeffrey Kallberg © 2011
Français: Hypérion

Ebenso wie die unterschiedlichen Versionen in gewisser Weise die sozialen Hintergründe der Chopinschen Walzer widerspiegeln, so ist dies auch bei mehreren kompositorischen Charakteristika der Fall. Die bloße Vorstellung von Popularität scheint in diverse Aspekte der Walzer bereits hineinkomponiert zu sein. Das ist insbesondere bei den Walzern der Fall, die Chopin zu seinen Lebzeiten herausgab, in denen die Kontraste zwischen überschäumenden Emotionen und Sentimentalität herausgearbeitet sind, die bekanntermaßen so viel zu der Modernität des Walzers als Gesellschaftstanz beigetragen haben. Dies tritt deutlich in dem ersten der publizierten Walzer hervor, nämlich dem in Es-Dur, op. 18. Die Hauptthemen dieses Walzers stellen die Betriebsamkeit auf dem Tanzboden lebhaft dar: die mitreißende Aufforderung zum Tanz in der Einleitung und die aufsteigende und abfallende Bewegung der Anfangsmelodien, mit denen (wie der Musikwissenschaftler Eric McKee überzeugend dargelegt hat) Chopin wohl die sich drehenden Tanzpaare darstellte. Die gegensätzlichen Themen (mit Melodien in Terzen und in der neuen Tonart Des-Dur) hingegen wirken eher nachdenklich (Chopin weist den Pianisten an, eines davon con anima aufzufassen, und das Seelenvolle der Melodie tritt spürbar hervor).

aus dem Begleittext von Jeffrey Kallberg © 2011
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

Chopin: Reminiscences
Studio Master: CKD248Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Chopin: The Complete Waltzes
Chopin: The Complete Waltzes
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