Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Nocturnes performed by Christopher Warren-Green

A
a
-
Album title:
Chopin
Composer(s):
Chopin
Works:
Piano Concerto No. 2; Nocturnes
Performer:
Maria João Pires (piano); Sinfonia Varsovia/Christopher Warren-Green
Label:
Narodowy Instytut Fryderyk Chopina
Catalogue Number:
NIFCCD 040
Performance:
starstarstarstarstar
Recording:
starstarstarstarnostar
5
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Nocturnes performed by Christopher Warren-Green

Maria João Pires’s Chopin discography, though extending to the waltzes and late works including the Cello Sonata, has largely been focused on the concertos and nocturnes. So what new things does she have to say here, especially when many hold her prizewinning recordings – in particular, of the complete nocturnes – to be definitive? What new light can the Sinfonia Varsovia, which must have recorded Chopin’s concertos more than any other orchestra, shed on this music? The answer to both these questions is: quite a lot. In a performance notable for its deep beauty of the Concerto in F minor, Pires ensures that the lyrical Larghetto forms the true heart of the work; full of bel canto flexibility, her playing is dazzling in the runs and decorations. She leads the attack in the dancing finale with assertive playing in which she is supported all the way by the orchestra under the conductor Christopher Warren-Green.

Likewise, the seven nocturnes included here are hauntingly poignant but never sentimental, and exude an elegant dignity that can only come through musical maturity. Most of them – but above all the Nocturne in B minor, Op. 9 No. 3 – sound strikingly shyer than on her complete DG set, released 20 years ago. No one will want to be without that or indeed any number of established versions of the concerto, yet these live recordings from the 2010 and 2014 editions of the Chopin and his Europe festival in Warsaw must be considered essential listening for anyone interested in Chopin interpretation.

John Allison

Mozart's Piano Concertos K413, 414 and 415 performed by Kristian Bezuidenhout
Mozart's Piano Concertos K413, 414 and 415 performed by Kristian Bezuidenhout
previous review Article
Violin Concertos by Glazunov and Khachaturian performed by Philippe Quint
Violin Concertos by Glazunov and Khachaturian performed by Philippe Quint
next review Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here