Chopin-Reminescences-Artur Pizarro-THE PIANIST

01 September 2005
Tim Stein

Having recently traversed the sonatas of Beethoven as well as a number of other less well-known composers for Linn Records, Artur Pizarro now turns his hands to the music of Chopin. As one would expect from a former Leeds Competition prize-winner, he is not a mere-technician. Pizarro's pianism, on all levels, is of the first order. Everything is here, from the tonal beauty (enhanced by the warmth of the Blüthner piano) to the acute sense of phrase and architecture. Yet in this miscellaneous selection of nocturnes, waltzes and mazurkas, with the largest work being the second Scherzo in B-flat minor and the Polonaise in A-flat ‘Heroique', I still find something strangely missing. Perhaps this has something to do with Pizarro's choice of tempos. Compare his timing (7:22) of the beautiful D flat Nocturne op 27 n.2 with Arrau's famous complete recording on Philips, for example, and Arrau (not known for his fast tempos) come at almost a minute quicker! Even the opening bars of the Grande Valse Brillante seems to lack that rhythmic lift, the subtle nuances and inflexions that you get with great Chopin interpreters such as Rubinstein (the 1937 remasterings on Naxos) or Lipatti (his famous complete recording on EMI). Though this CD has good recorded sound, and though I have admiration for Pizarro's other recordings, this Chopin disc just seems to lack that extra degree of spontaneity.

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