Chopin Preludes

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COMPOSERS: Chopin
LABELS: Linn
ALBUM TITLE: Chopin: Preludes
WORKS: Preludes
PERFORMER: Ingrid Fliter (piano)

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Chopin’s 24 Preludes have always been high on the agenda for pianists. Completed during Chopin and George Sand’s turbulent winter together in Majorca, in 1838-9, they are brief, intensely concentrated and inspired works, each with a vivid character. No two are truly alike. Among notable versions released in the last couple of years, those by Alexandre Tharaud and Daniil Trifonov (his Carnegie Hall recital debut) stand out; here Ingrid Fliter joins distinguished company. She has chosen a mixed bag of Mazurkas and Nocturnes as fillers; perhaps these make a slightly bitty programme, but they are no less beautiful for that.

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The Argentinian pianist – who made her name with Chopin, winning silver medal in the International Chopin Competition in 2000 – brings a powerful and individual voice to the Preludes. The first feature that stands out is her tone quality: forthright, with warm and singing legato. She puts an individual spin on tempos and character; the penultimate Prelude, for instance, is much slower than some other pianists’ accounts, while the first is less fluid and more assertive. That strong, dark tone colour and a springy sense of rhythm mark out her account as a whole – and though perhaps less ‘visionary’ than some others, it makes for a rewarding, absorbing listen. The Mazurkas are excellently judged with supple and flexible rubato, rapt atmospheres and superb voicing. The two Nocturnes end the CD on a poetic note, and the warmth of the whole is enhanced by good sound quality. Jessica Duchen