Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21; Variations on ‘Là ci darem la mano’ from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Op. 2; Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise brilliante

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COMPOSERS: Chopin
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21; Variations on ‘Là ci darem la mano’ from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Op. 2; Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise brilliante
PERFORMER: Eldar Nebolsin (piano); Warsaw PO/Antoni Wit
CATALOGUE NO: 8.572336

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The conductor Antoni Wit must have lost count of the number of times he has recorded the Chopin Concertos, let alone performed them, so it is a tribute to everyone involved in this new Naxos release that yet another recording of the F minor Concerto displays such a sense of deep involvement.

Both the veteran Wit and the 36-year-old pianist Eldar Nebolsin approach it with a mixture of seriousness and poise, showing a complete identification with Chopin’s language. It may not knock the many great recordings of this Concerto off their pedestals, but it is satisfying on its own terms.

Hardly one of Chopin’s finest works, the Variations on ‘Là ci darem la mano’ from Mozart’s Don Giovanni can overstay their welcome – but not here, thanks to a sprightly and engaging performance. The Uzbek-born pianist gets a chance display more depth in the Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise.

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The quintessential Polish dance that follows is full of interest but free of histrionics: this performance makes its impact through more than mere virtuosity. A formidable yet refined player, Nebolsin has the right qualifications for this music. John Allison