ALBUM TITLE: Chopin
WORKS: Mazurkas, Opp. 17, 24, 30 & 33; in C sharp minor, Op. 6 No. 2; in B flat, Op. 7 No. 1; in F minor, Op. 7 No. 3; Preludes in A sharp, C sharp minor; Berceuse; Nocturne in F sharp, Op. 15/2
PERFORMER: Ivana Gavrić (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: EDN 1086
An unexpected slight sense of weariness descends before this programme has run its course, suggesting that although Ivana Gavrić’s performances are poetic enough, it is as if the poetry is being recited rather than being felt truly from the heart. Taken on their own, almost any of short Chopin pieces heard here are fine, but cumulatively they begin to sound staid; overall, her Chopin style seems ‘studied’ and a little stiff in places. The last of the set of Op. 30 Mazurkas, for example, is quite squarely attacked, and it is followed by a static account of the Berceuse, which floats gently enough without the pianist communicating the way in which this remarkable piece – defined, after all, by texture and sonority – is in essence a set of variations over an ostinato ground. By the time we reach the Nocturne in F sharp minor (the only Nocturne here – I wonder what the thinking was behind this bitty programme?) the effect is one of sterility.
Having established a reputation for intelligent artistry, this Sarajevo-born British pianist seems somewhat surprisingly to have misjudged the programme here. It’s not just a matter of lots of little pieces in no discernible order, but as they tend to be drawn from among Chopin’s less demanding works – only the earlier Mazurkas are featured here, up to Op. 33 – the bigger picture is rather one-dimensional. Gavrić would surely have been better advised to approach one of the most recorded piano composers differently.