Idil Biret’s impetuosity and brilliance both combine to make the E minor Waltz which opens this recital arresting in its bravura, but she plays with both character and poetry in the Barcarolle and the two Ballades, while the Berceuse has a touching simplicity worthy of a young pupil of Wilhelm Kempff (‘Uncle Kempff’ as she called him). Indeed, overall this admirably planned recital demonstrates what a natural feeling Biret has for Chopin. Her complete survey is greatly prized in France and the mixture here of Etudes, Preludes and Mazurkas shows her control of colour and rubato in different ways, while the dashing account of the Scherzo in B flat demonstrates both her easy virtuosity and her willingness to slip back readily into gentle lyricism. The recording is excellent, with a real sense of presence.
"This release is the second volume in the Naxos series of Chopin Piano Favourites. The collection has been assembled from soloist Idil Biret's Complete Chopin Edition on Naxos which is regarded as an impressive achievement including the works for piano and orchestra as well as solo favourites... Idil Biret has impeccable credentials studying at the Paris Conservatoire under the eminent Nadia Boulanger and has appeared with many of the world's greatest orchestra's and conductors. In addition to many appearances at major music festivals and officiating as a judge at several celebrated competitions she has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards... Biret won the Grand Prix du Disque Frederic Chopin award in Poland which comes as no surprise given her exceptionally fine and spontaneous interpretations on this release.... Biret's performances are alive, possessing a great deal of expressive openness. I do not ever remember the great Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor being played better: a performance full of passionate expression...This release will make the perfect introduction to Chopin's solo piano music. A recital that will provide lots of pleasure."