WORKS: Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op. 44; Nocturnes in C minor, Op. 48/1, in C sharp minor, Op. 27/1, in E flat, Op. 9/2 (ed. Mikuli); Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor; Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49; Barcarolle in F sharp; Andante spianato & Grande polonais
PERFORMER: Angela Lear (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: APR 5551 DDD
To receive a disc conspicuously entitled ‘The Original Chopin’ comes as a bit of a surprise, and it gives a momentary shock to read, among the listed music, ‘Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2 (Ed. Mikuli, with variants and embellishments)’. All is made clear, however, when it is revealed that Karol Mikuli was a pupil of Chopin, and that the master wrote into Mikuli’s copies the additional ornamentation he himself would have played. It isn’t Angela Lear who is at fault, but the publishers of early editions and those who have since copied them. In fact Lear is a considerable researcher, making frequent visits to the Chopin Institute and the National Library in Warsaw and modelling her performances on the original manuscripts.
It is only in the E flat Nocturne that most listeners will detect major differences, the arabesque figures considerably amplified in the stanzas beginning at 1:31 and 2:32 mins, the cascade of thirds at 2:57 and the much altered final bars. Lear is inclined to put her left hand down before her right just a little too readily, but this is about the only criticism in a fascinating disc which enshrines all that is best in Chopin playing. Highly recommended. Wadham Sutton