Notes and Editorial Reviews
4 discs for the price of 1!
Just in time for the celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-49), Naïve presents a remarkable four-CD boxed set, available for the price of a single CD, featuring a bountiful collection of the composer’s music performed by two great Chopin interpreters. The first two discs feature Grigory Sokolov performing Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35; Etudes, Op. 25; Marche Funèbre in B-flat minor; and the 24 Préludes, Op. 28. The third and fourth discs feature Janus Olejniczak performing the 23 Mazurkas and nine Polonaises.
Grigory Sokolov pounces upon the Op. 25 Etudes, Funeral March Sonata, and
Op. 28 Preludes, illuminating their harmonic nooks and contrapuntal crannies like a scientist who can't wait to unveil his latest discovery. He milks the still-jarring left-hand dissonances in the A-minor Prelude, while hotfooting his way through the tumultuous B-flat minor and D minor, and serving up each étude with effortless control and striking individuality. Small wonder Bryce Morrison lavishly praised Sokolov in these pages when these performances first were released.
-- Gramophone, reviewing an earlier release of the Sokolov recordings
Grigory Sokolov's live 1990 recording of the Chopin Op. 28 Preludes last appeared on the Opus 111 label's 10-volume "Journey Around Chopin" anthology. It's reissued again here, with much-improved graphics this time around. I've always loved this recording for Sokolov's untrammeled, personalized pianism and a kind of freedom that seems fueled by creative inquiry rather than unfounded, willful eccentricity. The pianist revels in the music's unpredictable mood swings while illuminating its harmonic and contrapuntal inspirations like an astronomer who can't wait to share his latest planetary discoveries. Sokolov milks the A minor Prelude's still-jarring dissonances for all they're worth and sprints like mad through the hell-raising B-flat minor and D minor. The etude-like G major, F-sharp minor, and E-flat Preludes rarely have sounded so effortless and playful. Imagine a more intellectualized version of Martha Argerich's red-hot 1975 DG recording, and you'll get the gist of Sokolov's Chopin Preludes. A truly absorbing release.
-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com, reviewing an earlier release of this recording of the Preludes
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