Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Frederic Chopin, Ivan Moravec|
Ivan Moravec Plays Chopin
Darryl Roberson | Dallas, Texas | 11/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm truly surprised to find no commmentary on this release, for these are the most immaculately performed and recorded Chopin Ballades I've heard. As I listen to the opus 23 now, though Rubinstein has long been a favorite of mine, I realize this one will now supercede his in my personal list. I find Moravec's technique superior to most, and his interpretations beautifully and boldly realized without idiosyncracies. It's just wonderful music making here. As I wrote these few lines, I noticed Amazon also recommended Moravec's Nocturnes, and I couldn't agree more."
Remarkable and distinguished Chopin!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 03/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ivan Moravec's sheer devotion for rescuing the most penetrating facets of Chopin's piano pieces has made me think and rethink not only about the sublime grandness of the most beloved musical son of Poland. Moravec consecrated a good part of his huge musical genius to get into the last frontiers of these well known pieces with surprising results.
The First ballad for instance, receives a thoughtful and refined treatment where I.M. dissects the piece to carve in relief the nestled epic and lyric poetry bellow the score.
But the most emblematic pieces in this invaluable CD are the Fourth ballad, the Mazurka in A minor and Barcarolle Op. 60 (my desert island choices, by far).
Moravec must be included among the most respectable and heavy weight champions around Chopin's piano music. He has not fully received the well deserved acknowledgement as one of the most extraordinary pianists of the Century, so my dear reader, don't think it over and make yourself a special favor: acquire as soon as possible this thousand carats recording, before someone else does it for you.
(+) Pretty Perfect Playing, but still Incomplete Ballades
C. Pontus T. | SE/Asia | 01/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"INTRODUCTION: My extensive review traversal of the four Chopin Ballades has now reached the troika of truly great renditions--Moravec, Ohlsson and Demidenko. To me, these four independently conceived pieces make up among the greatest of treasures to be found in the entire piano repertoire. I don't expect to find an altogether complete realisation from any one pianist; Moravec, though, does a pretty good job at approaching the 'perfect' version.
REFERENCES: Demidenko (Chopin: Ballades; Third Sonata); Ohlsson (Garrick Ohlsson - The Complete Chopin Piano Works Vol. 3 - Ballades)
Moravec belongs to the very few pianists who possesses the rare ability to recreate Chopin's ingenious piano scores and attain something unique and memorable but still perfectly natural. His Nocturnes and Mazurkas are about as great as we can expect to hear them played by a human being--only Ohlsson, who is something of a soul mate with Moravec, reaches even slightly further ahead.
Moravec's Ballades were recorded in 1965 at the Vienna Konzerthaus on a very good-sounding Bösendorfer instrument--also in this respect he shares Ohlsson's view on how Chopin's sound world should be realised. Originally released on the Connoisseur Society label, the current incarnation is a reissue from Supraphon--also being offered as part of a 4-disc compilation (Ivan Moravec Plays (Box Set)).
So, why then only four stars? Two reasons: Moravec partly lacks the dramatic energy needed to squeeze out the last degree of tension and poetry (the A-minor 'tsunami' sections of the Second are particularly telling examples). In addition to that, he is completely let down by the recorded sound in the Fourth Ballade, making it sound distant and thin--indeed unforgivable in one of the supreme piano masterpieces, all the more so as Moravec's performance is one of the most complete we've had. This is really a mystery as the rest of the disc boasts rather excellent sound quality for being recorded more than 40 years ago. On the credit side, his First Ballade must count amongst the most delicately sustained renditions ever committed to disc; also the Third is unusually gorgeously done.
The fillers are made up of five masterfully played Mazurkas--Op 50/3 and Op 17/4 in particular--as well as the F-sharp major Barcarolle. Again, the luxurious tapestries of sound haven't been presented with more imaginative detail and colour by any other pianist--more than warranting the additional plus. What Moravec only lacks is the marginally more natural impetuous that permeates Ohlsson's best Chopin playing.
TIMINGS: Ballades--10:06, 7:37, 7:48, 11:56; Barcarolle--9:25; etc"