Chopin: Nocturnes (complete); Mazurkas; Waltzes

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WORKS: Nocturnes (complete); Mazurkas; Waltzes
PERFORMER: Alexis Weissenberg (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CZS 5 73830 2 ADD/DDD Reissue (1969-88)
Alexis Weissenberg has an intriguing history: born in Bulgaria, he emigrated to Israel, trained in New York, converted to Catholicism and came out as a gay man when it took great courage. When he made these recordings, between 1967 and 1981, he looked more like a sexy athlete than a pianist. But he certainly was a pianist, as sleek and strong as a panther. This reissue is not for purists, because Weissenberg ignores many of Chopin’s dynamic markings (the trills in the Nocturne Op. 62/1 are less like a string of pearls than a cascade of diamonds), but it is most certainly for lovers of great piano-playing. Which means Weissenberg makes the music his own in terms of his temperament and physical rapport with the instrument. The benchmark is Garrick Ohlsson – intensely searching and spiritual, if studied. Weissenberg is erotic, bold and free. I think Chopin would be seduced. Adrian Jack