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Dr. Brian Hick
Lark Reviews, June 2020

There are two ways of approaching this fine recording. Musically it covers a wide range of familiar Chopin pieces, all beautifully played, and the sense of a live event is very real. More importantly for those interested in what Chopin may have sounded like in his own, and subsequent, periods, the recording involves a wide range of historical instruments, as well as modern ones, to allow us to compare pieces alongside each other. It is highly impressive and one realises quickly just how much different a particular instrument makes to the impact of the piece. An unexpected delight on both levels. © 2020 Lark Reviews

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2020

The ‘Second Chopin Festival Hamburg’ would have made an interesting DVD, as we have various works played on instruments dating from Chopin’s time to the present.

Without the visuals it is all rather confusing as to whether we are listening to the approach of four different soloists, or the way Chopin’s music has been ‘changed’ by the evolution of the keyboard. Beginning with a Playel upright of 1832, we move through instruments from 1847 and 1872 before we arrive at a Japanese modern grand piano of 2019. Pianists from France, Germany and Poland bring their own personal touch to the fourteen Chopin tracks. But then we have to take into account the acoustic of the recording venue—the Museum of Arts and Crafts, Hamburg—which is rather dry, and you have a whole catalogue of permutations. Fascinating, and I particularly enjoyed Helene Tysman and the Shigeru Kawai SK-5 grand piano performing the Fourth Ballade—the disc’s most extended track—and a complete Chopin disc with this combination would be welcome. Yet the most interesting is the sound that the Playel instrument of 1847 could produce, and that, we should remember, was the sound the composer would have heard. That introduces the distinguished Polish pianist, Janusz Olejniczak, offering fine readings of the Second Scherzo and three Mazurkas, and it gives us the rare opportunity to hear music by Karol Kazimierz Kurpinski, a now forgotten early 19th century Polish conductor and composer.

Respectable live recordings. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

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