Chopin: Nocturnes

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Concord
WORKS: Nocturnes
PERFORMER: Andrzej Wasowski (piano)
Andrzej Wasowski is not exactly a household name these days. However, it is time that situation altered, and it’s too bad that the Polish pianist, born in 1919, is no longer alive to effect such a change. After surviving a turbulent youth in wartime Europe, winning prizes in the early Fifties and giving many concert tours, in the mid-Sixties Wasowski made his way to America, where he lived and taught until his death in 1993.


These performances of Chopin Nocturnes, recorded in 1989, are really rather extraordinary. Two features leap out. First, a glorious singing tone of great clarity, eloquence and purity, with beautifully balanced accompaniment and inner voices. Secondly, there’s a concentration on the darker, tragic and redemptive elements of the Nocturnes which makes these interpretations very personal and moving – some listeners might think them too emotionally overladen, but they moved me to tears.


Each piece feels complete not only musically but also philosophically. Wasowski’s use of tempo rubato is also very striking, probably a little more extreme than current thinking on Chopin would permit, but always applying the true meaning of the term, even within his generally slow tempi. I found these discs deeply stirring. Jessica Duchen