Notes and Editorial Reviews
Polonaises: in c?,
, op. 40/2;
, op. 53;
Fantaisie-impromptu in c?,
Impromptus: in A?
, op. 29;
class="ARIAL12"> Evgeny Kissin (pn)
RCA 68668 (56:58)
It’s startling to look at the cover photo of this new recital by Evgeny Kissin, recorded live on July 26, 2004, in Verbier, Switzerland, and to see that Kissin is, after more than a dozen years in the public eye, still a very young man. The wunderkind, now 25 years old, is an extraordinarily accomplished, confident pianist, powerful but also sensitive to the nuances and grace of Chopin’s music. After a burst of applause, the recital begins the thunderous opening chords of the Polonaise, op. 26/1. Almost immediately Kissin shades the sound, with a carefully planned diminuendo and a slowing of the tempo which some might feel is excessive. There’s something breath-taking, though, in Kissin’s control, in his ability to suggest both exuberance, and mystery, as we hear in the beginning of the Polonaise, op. 26/2, without sacrificing the lyricism that appears elsewhere in the music. It is partially the range of dynamics, partially the confidence with which Kissin uses rubato. I suppose that at this point it is the brilliance of the playing that is most impressive. His is a heroic style, and not only on the Polonaise, op. 53, with which the recital comes to an exuberant end. The sound is excellent, putting us at a slight distance from the piano and a slightly lengthier distance from the occasional cougher.
Of course there are dozens of recordings of these pieces that are worth hearing. (Kissin himself has previously recorded op. 53.) I have often praised the majestic Rubinstein performances, and note that Pollini’s op. 26/2 has even more mystery and drama than we hear in Kissin. I suspect that is because Kissin is playing out to a live audience. Less well known, perhaps, is the zestful op. 53 by Solomon, recorded in 1933, or the various wonderfully succinct performances by Moravec. I wish that Lipatti had survived to record all these works, as did the likes of Ashkenazy, and, slightly less satisfyingly, Garrick Ohlsson.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
Works on This Recording
Polonaises (2) for Piano, B 90/Op. 26 by Frédéric Chopin
Evgeny Kissin (Piano)
Written: 1834-1835; Paris, France
Date of Recording: 07/26/2004
Venue: Live Médran Hall, Verbier, Switzerland
Length: 18 Minutes 38 Secs.
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