Notes and Editorial Reviews
Krakowiak. Andante spianato and Grande polonaise brillante. Fantasy on Polish Airs. Variations on “Là ci darem la mano”
Janne Mertanen (pn); Jani Telaranta, cond; Turku PO
ALBA 335 (SACD: 58: 33)
Here is a disc of slightly different Chopin: not only some different pieces than you are used to (including the unusual early
Variations on “Là ci darem la mano”
Fantasy on Polish
), but also a different approach to Chopin performance. Pianist Janne Mertanen has a delicate, almost pearl-like sound, he plays this music with only a minimum of rubato, and the orchestra as conducted by Jani Telaranta pursues an equally objective musical line, looking neither left nor right but always straight ahead in its pursuit of the end music. Does this sound like dull Chopin? I assure you it is not. For all his delicacy in the soft passages, for example the
, Mertanen can also play with considerable power and élan in the
and other such music, and conductor Telaranta understands the meaning of creating drama in this music. I am not quite prepared, for instance, to proclaim Mertanen’s performance of the
Andante spianato and Grande polonaise
the equal of Ian Hobson’s superb playing in the piano-only version (Zephyr 137-10), but it is very good in its own right.
variations are extremely clever, the introduction, in fact, alluding to the theme very slightly without giving it away; and, after its statement, the variants are exceptionally brilliant, both from a technical as well as a musical standpoint. Here, in fact, Mertanen and Telaranta are very much in their element. This performance is good enough to convince the listener, especially in the dramatic, minor-key passages, that Chopin knew and understood Beethoven even if he only modeled his music on him occasionally.
This is an interesting disc whose performances will grab your attention as well as delight you.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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