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Chopin: Sonata No. 3, Etudes, op. 25
Fryderyk Chopin, Nelson Freire
Chopin: Sonata No. 3, Etudes, op. 25
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1

Nelson Freire, the grizzled gent who here makes his Decca debut at the ripe old age of 58, may indeed be elusive, but the biographical facts speak for themselves. Born in the Brazilian city of Boa Esperanca, Freire had hug...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Fryderyk Chopin, Nelson Freire
Title: Chopin: Sonata No. 3, Etudes, op. 25
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Decca Import
Original Release Date: 1/1/2002
Re-Release Date: 4/15/2002
Album Type: Import
Genre: Classical
Styles: Chamber Music, Forms & Genres, Etudes, Sonatas, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Romantic (c.1820-1910)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 028947028826

Nelson Freire, the grizzled gent who here makes his Decca debut at the ripe old age of 58, may indeed be elusive, but the biographical facts speak for themselves. Born in the Brazilian city of Boa Esperanca, Freire had huge early success, winning both the Vianna da Motta Prize and the Dinu Lipatti Medal when he was 20. For many years Martha Argerich's favorite four-hand partner, he has always won plaudits for his Chopin, and this inspiring disc shows why. The majestic Third Sonata seems governed from the start by an improvisatory impulse, but there's nothing showy about the playing. His touch is light, tender, and responsive to every hint in the score. In the second movement, he evinces rare delicacy and precision, and in the third, a thrillingly warm legato: he refuses to indulge in histrionics, which allows the genuine drama of the final movement to surge out more strongly. The Etudes offer a string of surprises, each emerging in an entirely fresh guise. No. 2 is more perfumed than usual, and No. 3 more expansive; the giant left-hand leaps of No. 4 are tossed off with nonchalant ease; the three "finales" are as astonishing as anyone could wish. Rounding things out with the three posthumous etudes, Freire also reminds us how velvety and muted his touch can be. There's an old-fashioned excellence about this pianism, which we need more of these days. --Michael Church

CD Reviews

Freire's Return from obscurity - finally
Alex Serrano | Perrysburg, Ohio United States | 03/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Nelson Freire is one of those pianists that you rarely see or find recordings of. Almost a legend, it was a welcome surprise however to find his name in the phillips collections of great pianists of the 20 th century. And after that collection, which seemingly had collected all his recordings, finally we get to hear him in a new recital and as the linear notes on the cd tell - Chopin must have been the obvious choice.
And it does not take long into the recording to know that you are in for a unique experience. The third sonata is played almost as if created on the spot - it may not be an architectural performance, but it is extremely convincing. And he brings out some inner voices in the largo movement which only draw enough attention to themselves so as not to deviate from the normal flow of the work. The final movement is played with great attention to lyric and for once does not sound as merely an etude as portrayed by so many modern pianists.
But best on this cd is his rendition of Chopin 12 etudes from op 25. Here, apart from a staggering technique, Freire gives each work enough character so as to dissociate themselves from an etude characterization. The 10th etude is played of course in octaves, but just as a means of expression rather than as the reason for the etude. All are played with shifting dynamics - each is portrayed in its ow unique light. It may well be the most original conception fo the etudes i have heard since Shura Cherkassky. And yet, all throughout the performance you can sense the profound respect Freire has for the music and the composer. These are not free-willed performances - they simply are different.
I guess all of those who know of Freire's playing wish he stepped further into the mainstream of virtuosos and so we could have more accessability to his brilliant playing - but for now, this recital should give us hours of inmense satisfaction and discovery."
Freire's Fiery Performance
Dr. Christopher Coleman | HONG KONG | 08/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Nelson Freire is a formidable pianist with tremendous technique, but technique in abundance is a common quality these days. What makes Freire's recording stand out is his unique sense of line and touch, coupled with a real sensitivity to dynamic and tempo flexibility. His interpretation of this literature is superb. Listen, for example, to the beginning of the largo, the third movement of Frederic Chopin's Third Piano Sonata, in B minor. How convincing Freire makes the abrupt shift to the lovely lyric melody from the dramatic, almost angry opening chords. In the final movement of the sonata, Freire's technique and dynamic control stand him in equally good stead. He builds thunderous climaxes, but still manages to shape the whole convincingly. It was not with the Sonata that Chopin made his place in music history, but with the character piece--etudes, fantasies, impromptus and the like. Freire is equally at home in his interpretation of these pieces, with their relatively simplier structure, as in his achingly mournful beginning of the C# minor etude from Chopin's Opus 25. Not only is the entire CD beautifully performed, but beautifully recorded as well. The sound quality is stunningly crisp and captures Freire's articulations wonderfully well. Although there are hundreds of recordings of these pieces (so many that one is tempted to ask why another?), Freire's rendition is certainly worth owning."
A Rairty By Any Standard
BLee | HK | 04/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

Definitely one of the most stunning living pianists.

For those who have seen Freire play, they must be awe-struck by his hands which are perfect hands for piano playing. Moreover, his fingers look as though they are completely boneless, all but sheer msucles! That amongst other things must account for his richness in nuances and colour. With regard to his technique, his is no ordinary facility, something which is not too common even among the pianists of the golden period.

Neverthelss, after repeated listening to his Chopin here, one get the feelings that in comparison with the pianists of the Golden Age, awe-struck one might be, somehow one can't help to feel one doesn't see much of Rachmaninoff's "heart of gold" here; nor is there very much of Hofmann's innate power to make music, despite the fact that the two are his two most admired pianists. He is not as even as incisive as Cortot. But one must admit that right after hearing these greats, one still has room for Freire and that is really quite something.

It is perhpas of interest to take note Freire's own account of what a pupil of Lizst's pupil said of him when he was small, "The child is a phenomenon, but he is completely nuts...and study could work out". How?

Freire's finishing touch came from Friedrich Gulda's teacher in Vienna. But when Freire studied in Vienna, Busoni was not around. Nor was Anton Rubinstein or even Leschetisky. Not even Schnabel or Friedman. Horowitz was there instead and Gulda was on the rise.

Sure, that doesn't explain the similarities or dissimilarities between Gulda and him. But they do share the same facility, including the stunning power to sight-read. Yet, their passion and power to sight-read makes one wonder how much time they were prepared to spend on a piece of music or a certain repertoire. Gould fared better, for he did compose after all. But for Freire? Perhaps too much talent is dangerous. And each in a different way, both fall short of the legitmate expectations of the audiences. Yet, it seems that Buchbinder-- another great pianist taught by the same teacher, apparently with equal talent but lesser fame ( at least in US )-- is doing so much better in this respect!

I have rewardingly spent sometime with Friere's Mozart ('84) & Brahms ('67) & Lizst('68) & his Saint Saen Conerto #2 ('83) etc: absolutely stunning and delightful. His musical mind may not be as big as Rachmaninov or Hofman, nor is he as "swinging" as Gulda, it's nonetheless first rate! His playing here are full of colours and deserves at least 5 stars, if not more.