Chopin Piano Sonatas - International Record Review

What an emotive loading this all can seem to a pianist engaging with the B flat sonata in the present tense. Every interpreter must somehow absorb and internalise its multi-layered associations before finding a way to rediscover it as if for the first time. Pizarro achieves this to an impressive degree. The first movement is played clearly even while projecting its agitated quality. Likewise the Scherzo, which is properly propelled but never percussive. In both movements the lyrical sections have an inward, glowing sonority. Then to the marche, which Pizarro treats as an interior lament, giving Chopin's Lento indication its full value. It is sustained without being heavy, and is absolutely free of artificial rhetoric or bombast. His tone remains persistently monochrome, and the bel canto melody of the consoling trio section is played as a "frozen moment" without undue expressive nuances that would break its Bellinian line. The entire movement comes across as a mezzotint within a grisaille, and this is both courageous and individual. In the eerie final Presto Pizarro uses quite a lot of pedal, producing an almost Debussian resonance, an effect enhanced by the softer-grained, less sharp-edged attack of the Bluthner grand chosen for the recording.

International Record Review
01 May 2006