Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor; Ballade No. 1 in G minor; Prelude in E minor, Op. 28/4; Prelude in D flat, Op. 28/15 (Raindrop); Prelude in D minor, Op. 28/24

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Chopin
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor; Ballade No. 1 in G minor; Prelude in E minor, Op. 28/4; Prelude in D flat, Op. 28/15 (Raindrop); Prelude in D minor, Op. 28/24
PERFORMER: Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 466 357-2
In the world of recording, one positive influence of the mania for compilations has been the return of the imaginatively chosen, shrewdly ordered recital programme, as opposed to the generic collection (‘The Polonaises’, ‘The Nocturnes’, ‘The Waltzes’). In the present case, it affords us an opportunity to appreciate the quite extraordinary range of Chopin’s output – not generally a feature of the generic, stamp collectors’ approach. In this consistently beautiful recital Thibaudet emerges as a Chopin player of very uncommon distinction. He is effortlessly elegant, technically unflappable, a master of tone colouring, songful, rhythmically supple (not once does he confuse rhythm with metre – a rare virtue these days), wide in dynamic range (but without so much as a hint of a bang from start to finish – a rarer virtue still), vivid but always subtle in characterisation. He is equally alive to Chopin’s saloniste charm, on the one hand, and the dark, even tragic element in his character. As a fascinating and revelatory bonus, the main programme is followed by four pieces played on the very Broadwood grand which Chopin selected for his last concerts in Britain in 1848. And Thibaudet plays it with a far greater understanding of its nature than many, even most, of his ‘specialist’ colleagues. An outstanding release in every way. Jeremy Siepmann

Advertisement