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CD Review

Frédéric Chopin

Piano Music

  • Scherzo #2 in B Flat minor, Op. 31 (1837)
  • Sonata #2 "Funeral" in B Flat minor, Op. 35 (1849)
  • Barcarolle in F Sharp Major, Op. 60 (1846)
  • Four Nocturnes
Mikhail Pletnev, piano
Virgin Classics CDC 45076 68:10 DDD
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Reissued on 61836
Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan

Mood is everything in this budget reissue of a 1988 recording. Pletnev's pastoral colors and natural pacing capture the spontaneity of an informal recital. Or it may be that he is playing for himself. The uniformity of his approach, especially in the nocturnes and the scherzo, suggest an experiment – an exercise in self-indulgence. Both are very slow. The scherzo oozes from episode to episode, the minute inflections gathering like snow on a window sill. There's a rather sated gondolier at the tiller of the Barcarolle. I like the sonata better, where the detachment of mood works well in the funeral march and the enigmatic presto. It's an easy way to pass an hour, but there is certainly no harm in walking away. Very good sound.

Virgin 61836

Copyright © 1997, Robert J. Sullivan