Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chopin. A Tad Too Weepy?

The BBC Radio 3 unleashes a weekend full of Chopin. Visit the site for it here. Loads of good stuff on the site for the ear and eye.

While listening to Chopin you might ponder a fine piece on recent trends in Chopin recordings/performances appearing on the excellent TimesOnline. Link. They also have audio/clips and a poll in which you can vote for your favorite interpreter of Chopin's music. Link. Of the votes cast thus far, Cortot is clearly the winner. And, surprisingly, Murray Perahia is at a distant 2nd. I don't particularly fancy Perahia's Chopin. My own favorite is Rubinstein. And, yes, I do love the Cortot but there is something about Rubinstein that edges him out of the way for me.

And here's the key graf of so from the article:
"..The preferred modern tactic now is to fight off overexaggeration and match Chopin’s romantic agony with the classical poise of a composer in love with Bach, Mozart, inner harmonies and the clear dance of polyphony – an element certainly strong in Chopin’s make-up. “A good balance between his romantic soul and his classical expression is one of the most difficult things to achieve,” says the wise Ingrid Fliter, soloist in EMI’s most recent Chopin disc.

Stephen Hough now spies a new danger: interpretations so desperate to avoid tears that pianists opt for a steely sound quite unlike what Chopin wanted or knew. Glenn Gould, if he gave himself a proper chance, would no doubt have pulled Chopin in that direction."

Who is your favorite Chopin performer? And do you think pianists are moving toward a more clinical, if you like, approach.

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