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Chronological Chopin: Ballades, Preludes, Scherzi and Other Works

Chopin / Schliessmann
Release Date: 01/08/2016 
Label:  Divine Art   Catalog #: 25752   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 2 Hours 39 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

German pianist Burkard Schliessmann is a performer with a passion and vision – to seek out and interpret the forms, colours and textures, indeed the soul and expression: the poetic impact, of works we believe have already been fully explored. His previous recordings have received worldwide acclaim - “Schliessmann is too good a pianist for anyone to pass on this” – American Record Guide; “without equal” – Fanfare. This triple SACD set with state of the art sound and luxury packaging chronicles the works of Chopin in order, showing the composer’s development and is thus informative for scholars as well as being a superb recital. Chopin is the composer above all who has inspired Schliessmann and his interpretative style. German pianist Burkard Schliessmann is a performer with a passion and vision – to seek out and interpret the forms, colours and textures, indeed the soul and expression: the poetic impact, of works we believe have already been fully explored. His previous recordings have received worldwide acclaim - “Schliessmann is too good a pianist for anyone to pass on this” – American Record Guide; “without equal” – Fanfare. This triple SACD set with state of the art sound and luxury packaging chronicles the works of Chopin in order, showing the composer’s development and is thus informative for scholars as well as being a superb recital. Chopin is the composer above all who has inspired Schliessmann and his interpretative style. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Scherzo for Piano no 1 in B minor, B 65/Op. 20 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (), Burkard Schliessmann (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1832; Poland 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 10 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2.
Ballade for Piano no 1 in G minor, B 66/Op. 23 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (), Burkard Schliessmann (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1835 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 9 Minutes 50 Secs. 
3.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 28 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (Piano), Burkard Schliessmann ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 33 Minutes 34 Secs. 
4.
Scherzo for Piano no 2 in B flat minor/D flat major, B 111/Op. 31 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (Piano), Burkard Schliessmann ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 11 Minutes 8 Secs. 
5.
Ballade for Piano no 2 in F major/a minor, B 102/Op. 38 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (), Burkard Schliessmann (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
6.
Scherzo for Piano no 3 in C sharp minor, B 125/Op. 39 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (Piano), Burkard Schliessmann ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Mallorca (Majorca),  
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 7 Minutes 48 Secs. 
7.
Prelude for Piano in C sharp minor, B 141/Op. 45 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (), Burkard Schliessmann (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 4 Minutes 49 Secs. 
8.
Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (Piano), Burkard Schliessmann ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 7 Minutes 21 Secs. 
9.
Fantasie for Piano in F minor/A flat major, B 137/Op. 49 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (Piano), Burkard Schliessmann ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 13 Minutes 6 Secs. 
10.
Ballade for Piano no 4 in F minor, B 146/Op. 52 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (Piano), Burkard Schliessmann ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 11 Minutes 27 Secs. 
11.
Scherzo for Piano no 4 in E major, B 148/Op. 54 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (Piano), Burkard Schliessmann ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 12 Minutes 8 Secs. 
12.
Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (Piano), Burkard Schliessmann ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 4 Minutes 43 Secs. 
13.
Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (), Burkard Schliessmann (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Paris, France 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 8 Minutes 23 Secs. 
14.
Polonaise-fantaisie for Piano in A flat major, B 159/Op. 61 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann (), Burkard Schliessmann (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Poland 
Venue:  Teldex-Studios, Berlin 
Length: 13 Minutes 25 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Controlled energies: Chopin among the best  October 7, 2016 By James Harrington (ARG) See All My Reviews "This is a large amount of Chopin, uniquely arranged chronologically. For those of us who usually listen in sequence to all four Ballades or Scherzos, this approach gives a fresh perspective on familiar works. Chopin has been integral to Schliessmann's recorded repertoire for quite some time. He recorded all four Ballades, the Fantasy, Barcarolle, and Polonaise-Fantasy in 2002 (Bayer 100348, Nov/Dec 2003). In 2009 he made new recordings of the three previous works and added the Berceuse, Prelude, Op. 45 and Waltz Op. 64:2. In 2010 he made new recordings of Ballades 3 and 4. All of these were released on MSR 1361 (Nov/Dec 2010). Now, for his second release on Divine Art, the recordings are mostly new, done in 2012, 2013, and 2015. Three works from 2009, originally on MSR, are included here (Fantasy, Berceuse, Prelude, Op. 45). My superlatives for the MSR recording five years ago still hold true, and I fully understand reusing the three works. The new recordings of the other MSR pieces are very similar interpretations. I imagine Schliessmann's keen ear knows those little moments in the old recordings that made him want to redo them. I am hard-pressed to find any significant differences, and I rank this Chopin among the best available. The recordings from 2012 and 2013 also included Scherzos 1, 2, and 4, all new to Schliessmann's recorded repertoire, plus his third recording of Ballade 1. Here I find the contrast between the fiery and lyrical sections to be emphasized. Especially notable is his handling of the transitions between these two elements: whether gradual or sudden, they all make wonderful musical sense. With both the technique and intellect to do just about anything he wants, Schliessmann's strength is in the lyrical, legato melodies that make Chopin's music such a cornerstone of the piano repertoire. He has all the octaves, chords, and quick fingers called for in the virtuoso sections as well. He does not achieve quite the edge-of-your seat excitement of Horowitz or Argerich; his is a more controlled energy, well thought-out but still brilliant. I would go out of my way to hear Schliessmann play any group of these in concert. His approach to all of the music is worthy of study and repays careful listening. The piano sound is spectacular and the booklet notes informative and comprehensive." Report Abuse
 Great! January 20, 2016 By Colin Clarke (FanfareMag) See All My Reviews "Burkard Schliessmann has been gathering critical praise for some time now. It is, frankly, good to report on a young pianist who concentrates on pianistic color and still respects the music’s structure. The emphasis on color presumably has much to do with his period of study with Shura Cherkassky. Schliessmann has previously recorded Chopin for the Bayer label, to critical acclaim. So to Chronological Chopin, the current 3-SACD set (the playing order is not as neat as the review title above might imply, given the chronological slant: the op. 45 Prélude occurs in the midst of the second disc while the op. 28 Préludes set on disc one, for example). Schliessmann provides long and articulate booklet notes explaining his passion for Chopin before quoting reviews of the works at the time of composition, quoting other people on Chopin (from George Sand’s daughter through Nietzsche to Debussy and Anton Rubinstein). The interpretations themselves dwell on beauty and the lyrical. The heart-on-sleeve “passion” that one so often associates with Chopin is either absent or played down; as if to compensate, Schliessmann regularly finds beauties in these scores others are lucky if they hint at. His passion is of an altogether more profound sort. As an alternative method of Chopin interpretation alone, Schliessmann is worth hearing for every pianist and every student of Chopin’s music. Something like the C sharp-Minor Prélude (heard midway through the second disc) works perfectly in Schliessmann’s hands, and he indeed offers a performance of such exquisite cantabile and such enshrouded pain coupled with luminous textures that one forgets all others while listening. He starts, though, with the B-Minor Scherzo, and his opening may surprise many. It is neither fire-breathing nor overly careful; the impression one gets is of a pianist for whom every note music speak. Similarly, his First Ballade becomes more multi-faceted than any other in this reviewer’s memory; it even includes jocular moments. The coda might by many be labelled “slow”; it dances and flickers rather than storms. Welcome to the world of Burkard Schliessmann. There is every danger that the listener will either love it or hate it. Schliessmann and his Steinway (impeccably recorded at Teldex Studios, Berlin) make such a burnished tone it seems impossible to imagine an ugly sound. Indeed, such an idea clearly has no place in Schliessmann’s Weltanschauung. It is this, plus his intelligent approach, that makes his F-Minor Fantaisie stand out, his liquid delicacy ravishing the ears while his analytical side takes the steering wheel and guides the listener expertly (and probably unknowingly) through the piece. The 24 Préludes have their quirks: the left-hand of the G-Major, for example, sounds like it is notated in fast eighth notes rather than sixteenth notes. These slower tempos may worry some?the Presto con fuoco No. 16 does rather sound like a practice speed?yet even doubters cannot surely fail to come under the spell of Préludes such as the E-Minor (beautifully shaded and dark). The final D-Minor is underpowered; but this remains an important performance. I doubt there is a more beautiful Fourth Ballade on record, nor a more beautifully recorded one. Indeed, the final disc is arguably the crowing glory of this set. The articulation at speed in the Fourth Scherzo is remarkable, as is some of the sonic beauty encountered here. No surprise, therefore, that the Berceuse and Barcarolle are absolutely magical, the Berceuse revelatory in its inevitable unfolding, the Barcarolle less pedalled than one might expect, more able to stand up for itself. Finally, the huge interpretative challenge of the Polonaise-Fantaisie. This is a piece that suits Schliessmann perfectly; the deconstructive elements are laid bare for all to hear. Single lines speak volumes. As the piece attempts to reclaim its Polonaise status, we are sucked into the elusive argument of one of Chopin’s most interpretatively demanding pieces. A remarkable set, in many ways." Report Abuse
 Not To Be Missed! January 13, 2016 By Dave Saemann (Fanfare) See All My Reviews "My introduction to the art of Burkard Schliessmann was an exquisite 1990-1 CD of Brahms’s Third Sonata and Handel Variations. Here was a pianist with a big, luxuriant tone, exceptional technique, and considerable sensitivity and intelligence. All of these virtues are deployed on Chronological Chopin, Schliessmann’s exploration of selected works of Chopin in their order of composition. The Chopin players Schliessmann reminds me of most are Angela Lear and Vlado Perlemuter. Like Lear, Schliessmann elicits a sound in Chopin that emphasizes the piano’s darker sonorities. Both pianists interpret Chopin without wild tempo changes and capricious phrasing. If you are unfamiliar with Angela Lear, I would recommend volume two in her series, The Original Chopin. Schliessmann and Perlemuter share predilections in their Chopin for lucidity of texture and an unforced ease of execution. Their playing is suffused with a sense of Chopin’s nobility. Schliessmann’s renditions also are influenced heavily by Chopin’s love for J. S. Bach. He plays with considerable respect for structure, plus a feeling for the artistic autonomy of Chopin’s edifices. There is no boilerplate, sentimental romantic playing in Chronological Chopin. This is an album with the highest aspirations for expressing the composer’s muse, and in general those aspirations are met. Schliessmann’s program begins with the First Scherzo. Its dance-like rhythms are paced judiciously to create a seamless texture. The middle section possesses a touching simplicity, while the coda synthesizes the first section’s phrasings marvelously. Schliessmann finds the hint of a mazurka in the First Ballade’s opening portion, as if portraying a Polish landscape. As the work proceeds, the pianist’s inflections propel it forward without compromising a leisurely atmosphere. Schliessmann’s op. 28 Preludes are big and brawny, almost Klemperer-like. The opening prelude already is sweeping and majestic. No. 3 depicts a country festival. No. 5 has the sensation of one’s heart skipping a beat. A windswept rainstorm emerges from loads of pedal in No. 8. No. 11 is nearly a Scottish dance. No. 13 is saturated in romantic warmth. A rattling skeleton inhabits No. 14. No. 16 is almost like a roller coaster, leaving one a little nauseous. A carriage ride with one’s beloved takes place in No. 19. No. 21 possesses a blend of cosmic sonorities, as if depicting the music of the spheres. Schliessmann secures a gorgeous legato in No. 23, offering a brief respite before the dark, fateful final prelude. There’s nothing generic about this pianist’s op. 28. It will make a striking addition to any recordings of the preludes you already may own. The second CD begins with a fine, broad, spacious reading of the Second Scherzo. It is less demonic than some interpretations, more restless and quizzical. The opening section of the Second Ballade is filled with tranquil beauty. Its Presto con fuoco possesses the spooky mystery of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto. Schliessmann suggests that for Chopin, quietude can give way easily to horror. In the Third Scherzo, the brief introduction is beautifully paced, sliding into the agitated first section. Schliessmann brings out harmonies in the second section reminiscent of Chopin’s “Funeral March,” with filigree work like falling leaves. The coda leaves one shaken. The op. 45 Prelude receives an exceptional performance, with lovely sostenuto playing. It provides the gentlest meditation on the feeling of foreboding. For the Third Ballade, the second section resembles the appearance of an untroubled ghost in a beautiful mansion. A mixture of chills and excitement characterizes the work’s ending. The Fantaisie is remarkable for its mixture of virtuoso playing with elegant tone. Schliessmann here portrays the noble Byronic hero with sensitivity and élan. The final CD starts off with the Fourth Ballade in a rhapsodic performance of shifting textures and perspectives. At times playful, at other times dynamic, it reveals an ambivalence in Chopin even in his serene moments. The coda seems to dash everything to pieces. A rather slow interpretation of the Fourth Scherzo emphasizes the warmth in Chopin’s temperament. At Schliessmann’s speeds one can appreciate the craftsmanship in Chopin’s counterpoint, which usually just flies by. The work’s middle section here possesses a rare tenderness. Schliessmann’s Berceuse is stunning, avoiding the trap of being over delicate. Its play of colors shimmers. One can hear a foretaste of Satie. By imposing limits on rhetorical devices, Chopin unravels a rich seam of expression—fully mined by Schliessmann. The Barcarolle receives a big, gnarly reading with much rhythmic subtlety. The pianist finds a cryptic element in late Chopin, with things being said in transitions and on the edges of phrases. There is some very advanced counterpoint that adds to the composer’s ambiguity of meaning. The Polonaise-Fantaisie is almost a polonaise broken up into its constituent parts. Schliessmann apparently sees Chopin shadowboxing with himself, deconstructing every gesture to uncover what makes it Chopin. At times the piece threatens to fall apart, as if the composer cannot ascertain a coherent personality that requires expression. This makes for a haunting and devastating close to Schliessmann’s program. The sound engineering on the CD layer is warm and full. I was unable to audition the SACD program. Schliessmann’s liner notes are extensive and enlightening. The recordings of the op. 28 Preludes I listen to most often are by Irina Zaritzkaya and Lincoln Mayorga. I also like the Ballades by Bella Davidovich and the Scherzos by Marta Deyanova, the latter being extremely different from Schliessmann. Schliessmann has taken a chronological look at Chopin’s career that is not merely persuasive but ultimately harrowing. It reminds me a little of John Malcolm Brinnin’s book, Dylan Thomas in America, in its depiction of the stresses of sensibility on an artistic personality. Schliessmann will persuade you of the greatness of Chopin to a degree matched by few other pianists. He will not convince you that, as an individual, you would choose to emulate Chopin’s spiritual journey." Report Abuse
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