Chopin: Complete Waltzes, Ballades & Scherzos

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Complete Waltzes, Ballades & Scherzos
PERFORMER: Cyprien Katsaris (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-95499-2 DDD
You could do a lot worse than this compilation. The playing is brilliant, sometimes a little brittle, at least as recorded here, but full of subtle details and colourful variety. Perhaps Katsaris had a spot of bother with the instrument: the trill at the start of the Waltz in A flat, Op. 42, is not ideally even and the light staccato chords in the fourth Scherzo are not so much frothy as flustered. But he has definite ideas of his own and brings out inner voices in the Scherzos in the most surprising ways. You may feel that some of his rubato is affected (for instance, in the episodes of the very first waltz) and in the first Ballade he keeps lingering as if merely to admire his own playing. But most of his deviations from the norm come as lovely surprises, and, even if the true melody is demoted occasionally to a mere descant, he never seriously distorts the music’s shape. What he doesn’t quite achieve in the Ballades is a sense of epic nobility – for which try Gavrilov or Demidenko – nor can he match Demidenko’s all-consuming fire in the Scherzos. Adrian Jack