Notes and Editorial Reviews
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2. Variations on “Là ci darem la mano.” Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante • Eldar Nebolsin (pn); Antoni Wit, cond; Warsaw Phil O • NAXOS 8.572336 (62:53)
Eldar Nebolsin was born in Uzbekistan in 1974. He eventually went on to study with Dmitri Bashkirov, before garnering international attention after winning the Santander International Piano Competition back in 1992. In addition, he was awarded the Sviatoslav Richter Prize in the International Piano Competition, Moscow, in 2005. He is a name that is new to me, and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to hear a bit of what he’s doing right now. He has the kind of virtuosity that is less apparent than other pianists’, because he
always seems to be completely in touch, musically, with what he’s doing—and not for the sake of showing off what he can do. He has a fluid sound, and a good lyrical sense—sometimes losing the rhythmic bite, the quirkiness of the rhythms, but always maintaining a beautiful sound. The concerto’s first movement is perfectly paced to bring out the Maestoso character that is asked for in its tempo marking. But again, sometimes the music loses that aforementioned bite and consequently its momentum. The way Nebolsin handles the delicate filigrees of the concerto’s Larghetto, though, is just one example of his good taste in never over-sentimentalizing this music. The Allegretto vivace that follows is equally well done, having an almost eerie, misterioso quality to it from the very beginning of the movement. The pianist shines especially in these latter two. The Mozart Variations—the piece that Schumann was so impressed with that he called Chopin a genius—has never been hugely popular in this century. Nebolsin does a good job of letting the music flow naturally, while keeping the textures of the piano figuration light and airy—not so easy, considering the difficulty of these etude-like variations. Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic provide excellent accompaniment, surging when necessary, supporting at other times, and getting out of the way when the soloist comes to the fore...The variations are splendid, and Nebolsin gets my vote for one of the best available.
FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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