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Track(s) taken from CDS44351/66

Scherzo No 1 in B minor, Op 20

begun in Vienna circa 1831; completed in Paris in 1835

Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Recording details: June 1992
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: 11 minutes 24 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)
Nikolai Demidenko (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)
In the First Scherzo (1832) a clarion call to attention launches the principal theme which sears upwards like a zig-zag flame, its key and gaunt texture insisted on throughout. The dissonance and syncopation are startlingly modern, and so is the second subject’s terse yet haunting declamation. The central B major reworking of the polish carol ‘Sleep, little Jesus’ is a no less spare yet conciliatory lullaby, its gently rocking motion and tranquillity finally clouded by ill-feeling as the storm returns, its fury confirmed in a pulverizing coda full of harsh surprises, and not just for Chopin’s contemporaries. This Scherzo was the favourite of Anton Rubinstein, most leonine of pianists, and was often known as ‘The Infernal Banquet’.

from notes by Bryce Morrison © 2004

Dans le Premier Scherzo (1832), un appel de clairon introduit le thème principal qui s’élance vers le ciel comme une flamme zigzagante, sa tonalité et sa texture épurée étant constamment mises en exergue. Les dissonances et syncopes sont étonnamment modernes, ainsi que la déclamation brusque et pourtant lancinante du second thème. La section centrale en si bémol majeur où Chopin a remanié le chant de Noël polonais «Dors, petit Jésus», est pareillement épurée tout en parvenant à concilier la douce oscillation de la berceuse. Le sentiment de tranquillité est pour finir obscurci par celui d’animosité alors que la tempête fait de nouveau rage. Sa furie est renforcée par une coda qui pulvérise tout et déborde de surprises pénibles, pas seulement pour les contemporains de Chopin. Souvent surnommé «Le banquet infernal», ce Scherzo était le préféré d’Anton Rubinstein, le plus léonin des pianistes.

extrait des notes rédigées par Bryce Morrison © 2004
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Im Ersten Scherzo (1832) sorgt ein fanfarenartiger Ruf für Aufmerksamkeit und kündigt das Hauptthema an, das wie eine Zickzack-Flamme emporschnellt und dessen Tonart und karge Textur stets beibehalten werden. Die Dissonanzen und Synkopierungen wie auch die knappe und doch eindringliche Deklamation des zweiten Themas sind überraschend modern. Im Mittelteil, der in H-Dur steht, wird das Polnische Weihnachtslied „Schlaf, kleiner Jesus“ verarbeitet. Es ist dies ebenfalls in seiner Anlage sparsam und trotzdem ein versöhnliches Schlaflied, dessen sanft wiegende Bewegung und Ruhe schließlich durch Verstimmtheit getrübt wird, als der Sturm zurückkehrt, dessen Zorn sich in einer heftigen Coda manifestiert, die voller überraschender Härten steckt (und das nicht nur in den Augen der Zeitgenossen Chopins). Dieses Scherzo war ein Lieblingsstück von Anton Rubinstein, dem Tastenlöwen schlechthin, und wurde oft als „Höllenbankett“ bezeichnet.

aus dem Begleittext von Bryce Morrison © 2004
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

Chopin: Four Ballades & Four Scherzos
Studio Master: CDA67456Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Chopin: The Four Scherzi
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