Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 1 in C minor; Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor; Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor

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COMPOSERS: Chopin
LABELS: Revelation
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 1 in C minor; Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor; Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor
PERFORMER: Vera Gornostayeva (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: RV 10032
From 1970 to 1988 Vera Gornostayeva was not allowed to travel outside the Soviet Union. This recording was made ‘live’ in a single day in 1986, though surely not at a recital, since there is no noise whatsoever. There is some distortion, yet a quite remarkable quality of piano tone is captured. Gornostayeva is clearly a wonderful player – very relaxed, with a singing tone which creates constantly varied, limpid textures. You might call her a pianist’s pianist, for her characterisation is achieved through effortless elegance, and she puts sheer beauty before anything else. None of her tempi is extreme, but they are sufficiently contrasted. The end effect is ample – so even though she cuts repeats, the total playing time is generous. If you want all three Chopin sonatas together, you could hardly do better than get these performances, which combine restraint with deep warmth. Adrian Jack

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