Notes and Editorial Reviews
4 Ballades. 4 Impromptus
Bella Davidovich (pn)
NEWTON 8802047 (57:25)
"Bella Davidovich will be 83 years old on July 16 of this year. I had forgotten that, just a few months ago, I purchased a Brilliant Classics reissue (93528) containing just these recordings, plus, on a second CD, Chopin’s 24 Preludes and the Krakowiak in F. Why should Newton Classics reissue duplicate half of Brilliant’s release? Surely not just to honor the pianist’s birthday!
way or another, you should acquire these performances, if you didn’t get them the first time around. (They originally appeared on Philips.) Davidovich, who was in her early to mid-50s when these recordings were made in England (the first three impromptus) and Switzerland (everything else) was in peak condition, and the engineering team complemented her work admirably. (I have this pianist’s Melodiya LP of the ballades, and the sound is cruder. Not only that, the Russian vinyl seems to have been recycled from old tractor tires.)
Davidovich is one of those pianists who is always tasteful, but in the most interesting manner. In music that encourages many pianists to stretch the concept of interpretation into one of exaggeration, Davidovich remains sane, and even serene. Now granted, if you demand that a pianist paint the sorrows of Chopin’s struggling motherland, or heroes dripping their lifeblood onto scorched Polish soil, Davidovich might not be fanciful enough for you, and someone like Kissin (RCA Red Seal) should satisfy that not unreasonable expectation. However, if you prefer a more objective approach, and playing as well tuned as the engine of a European race car, Davidovich is an excellent choice. Her playing excites not through the application of external pianistic effects, but through her precise and always musical realization of the notes on the printed page. Although her ballades and impromptus are buoyant, they are never inflated! In this, she resembles Arthur Rubinstein."
FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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