Notes and Editorial Reviews
This CD grew on me. At first listen, there was a quality of self-indulgence that put me off. As it turns out, the second piece on the recital, the Waltz, op. 69/1, proves to be the only work in which Pizarro succumbs to any sort of extreme manipulation of rhythm and tempo, and in this case, it even works. This wispy, ethereal little dance is marked Lento and con espressione by the composer, after all. Pizarro transforms the music into a sweet reverie, taking chances with rubato rhythm that could lead a less sensitive musician into a gooey mess.
It is just such a poetic sensibility that lights up all of the playing on this recital. Pizarro does not dazzle; he is never overtly virtuosic, although he is a completely competent
technician. The ear is drawn, instead, to the linear contours of the musical structure and to Chopin’s ever-bold harmonic vision. The dreamy quality that Pizarro finds in the waltz that I first found off-putting works magic in the glorious nocturnes. A critical element of Pizzaro’s playing, given the relaxed nature of his phrasing, is that he never loses the pulse of the music. There is a combination of inner repose and linear energy in his playing that borders on the magical. For some listeners, his playing of the chunkiest pieces here, the polonaise and the scherzo, might lack the heft and energy of some famous recordings of yore (Rubinstein, Ashkenazy, Horowitz), but Pizzaro’s versions fit nicely into the dramatic aura that this series of pieces creates. The recital has a very satisfying sense of wholeness about it.
Some technical comments are in order here. Linn, the producer of this CD, is the same outfit that produces some of the most refined and expensive stereo equipment in the world. Like most high-end British audio manufacturers, Linn-designs strive for real world sound, with a balanced frequency range and natural perspectives (no microphone inside the piano here). The rich and lovely sound is not meant to wow the listener, but rather to present a semblance of the way a piano sounds, in this case, in a medium sized room. Pizarro plays a Bluthner piano, which has a more delicate and woody sound than one is used to hearing from Steinway and Bösendorfer.
Peter Burwasser, FANFARE
Reviewing original release of this recording Read less
Works on This Recording
Waltz for Piano in E flat major, B 46 by Frédéric Chopin
Artur Pizarro (Piano)
Written: 1829-1830; Poland
Venue: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs.
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