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Debussy: Images; Chopin: Preludes / Paris Tsenikoglou

Debussy / Tsenikoglou,Paris
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Oehms   Catalog #: 864   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claude DebussyFrédéric Chopin
Performer:  Paris Tsenikoglou
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DEBUSSY Images. CHOPIN Preludes Paris Tsenikoglou (pn) OEHMS 864 (71:07)

The beautifully poetic playing of this young Greek pianist presents a dilemma. Will an artist with the requisite temperament to produce cool, carefully shaded Debussy necessarily be successful with Chopin? Of course, there are plenty examples of famous pianists who played both composers with strength and individual character, including Arrau, Michelangeli, Aimard, Read more Richter, Uchida, and many others. In each case, these artists were able to find specific ways to interpret the vision of the different composers. In the case of Tsenikoglou, we get instead Chopin played in the manner of Debussy. If this does not sound like a jarring proposition to you, you will probably enjoy this wonderfully performed and well recorded debut. These Images are impeccable, without at all sounding precious. Tsenikoglou finds a measured pace, builds his phrases with great precision, and pulls out a lovely range of pastel coloring from his instrument.

If you apply these same characteristics to Chopin, you get, to my ears, a pretty sound that misses the dramatic intent of the composer. That measured pace that I admire in Debussy should pulse with rubato in Chopin. That precise phrasing should be complemented by flashes of fire. Chopin’s score is filled with Fortissimo markings, but I wouldn’t say that Tsenikoglou actually observes them. He certainly seems to love the music, but I am not sure that he completely understands it. Chopin recordings are so ubiquitous that they are easy to take for granted, but truly great performances are rare. The music is difficult well beyond the notes (which can often be exceedingly difficult indeed), but there is a spirit, even a quirkiness that is much harder to arrive at. This version of the Preludes does not venture beneath the surface. Go to Argerich in this music for that kind of depth.

Tsenikoglou is an extremely talented musician, and I would certainly not write him off because of my rather fussy view of his Chopin. I can even imagine those for whom the composer is too melodramatic enjoying this understatement. Oehms, as usual, provides a lovely package and excellent sound.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

Images for Piano, Set 1 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Paris Tsenikoglou (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; France 
Images for Piano, Set 2 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Paris Tsenikoglou (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; France 
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 28 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Paris Tsenikoglou (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 

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