Poland’s national dance is a stately affair, but in Chopin’s hands, it become a passionate statement about his home country. Start with the A-major Polonaise.
Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Anatol Ugorski (piano) DG 477 5430
Chopin’s two books of studies test and stretch a player’s advanced technique. But the music contains depth and feeling.
Murray Perahia (piano)
Singularly unimpressed with the Viennese ballroom scene, Chopin set about composing his own waltzes, published in 1819, which contain abandon, but a certain wistfulness too.
Ingrid Fliter (piano)
EMI 698 3512
Piano Concerto No. 1
Composed shortly before he left Poland, Chopin shows his gift for long-arching melodic lines and filigree piano writing. The second movement, in particular, is ravishing.
Krystian Zimerman (piano), Polish Festival Orchestra
DG 459 6842
Chopin puts his heart and soul into these astonishingly powerful works. Don’t be fooled by the title ‘Ballade’ – all four of them contain music of extreme drama and energy, as well as tenderness and lyricism.
Evgeny Kissin (piano)
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.