Notes and Editorial Reviews
At 23 Kissin was already among the master-pianists of our time, and in their poise and maturity all these performances seem light-years away from colleagues twice his age.
Here is the eagerly awaited second volume of Kissin's 1993 Carnegie Hall Chopin recital (Vol. 1 was reviewed in May). At 23 Kissin is unquestionably among the master-pianists of our time, and in their poise and maturity all these performances seem light-years away from colleagues twice his age. What magnificence and assertion he finds in the B minor Sonata's opening (for once truly maestoso), what menace in the following uprush of chromatic scales, his deliberate pedal haze capturing one of Chopin's most truly modernist moments. Kissin may relish
left-hand countermelody in the return of the second subject and elsewhere, yet such detail is always offered within the context of the whole, within the most bracing and invigorating sense of propulsion. A momentary failure of concentration at 104" in the Scherzo's central section comes as reassuring evidence of human fallibility but elsewhere one can only marvel at a manner so trenchant, musicianly and resolutely unsentimental. The equestrian finale is among the most lucid on record (no Argerichian waving of fire-brands here) and concludes in a controlled triumph that has the audience cheering to the heavens.
The 12 Mazurkas are no less remarkable for their strength and discretion. Nothing is rushed, everything is unfolded with complete naturalness and authority. Kissin's rubato is beautifully idiomatic yet so stylishly applied that you are only aware of a musical 'breathing', of the finest fluctuations of pulse and emotion. Listen to his way with the opening bitter-sweet chromaticism of Op. 24 No. 4 in B flat minor and the gravity he achieves in its close or his confidential way with that masterpiece in miniature, Op. 17 No. 4 in A minor, and you will note a sovereign command of every subtle as well as heroic challenge. Few other pianists have gone to the heart of the matter with such assurance (always excepting Artur Rubinstein, whose aristocratic sangfroid and magical idiosyncrasy, available once more on a three-disc References set, remain one of music's most tantalizing secrets). The recording captures Kissin's clear, unnarcissistic sonority admirably and audience noise is kept to a minimum. However, those of a hardened and competitive nature should be warned. They could easily find themselves weeping into their beer.
-- Gramophone [11/1994]
Works on This Recording
Sonata for Piano no 3 in B minor, B 155/Op. 58 by Frédéric Chopin
Evgeni Kissin (Piano)
Written: 1844; Paris, France
Date of Recording: 02/1993
Venue: Live Carnegie Hall, NYC
Length: 28 Minutes 33 Secs.
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