Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recorded in 1992, when the pianist was 21 or 22, these performances are full of what jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon once described to me as impetuous youth. That’s not a bad thing, except that the Finale of the Sonata in B flat sounds not exactly rushed, but shapeless, or at least less carefully phrased than Pollini’s equally brisk, but somehow imperturbable, performance. I suppose that’s a minor fault, given the enormous and authoritative zest Andsnes brings to these sonatas. He plays with a big sound, and he tends to be explosive, yet he does not neglect Chopin’s lyricism either. It just doesn’t seem to last. Andsnes has had a brilliant career since 1992, and it would be interesting to hear him play these pieces again. They have been
reissued before, incidentally, on a double disc that included the First Sonata and some extras. I don’t know why those shorter works weren’t included in this single disc reissue. It’s an attractive package nonetheless, Chopin by a young virtuoso bursting with vitality.
Michael Ullman, FANFARE
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