Chopin Reminiscences - Pizarro - BBCi

"Reminiscences" is a collection of the works by Chopin which figured strongly in Artur Pizarro's formative years. Some he played himself as a child, others he heard played within his family circle, with the result that these performances take on an interesting personal slant. "Reminiscences" is also the title found on one of the original copies of the beautiful C# minor Nocturne which lies at the heart of the disc and which Pizarro played, along with the Fantaisie-Impromptu also featured here, at his very first recital 25 years ago.

The works chosen reflect a good balance of styles to show off Pizarro's skill, ranging from the brilliance of the Waltzes to the central Nocturnes which almost lull the listener to sleep. The nationalistic passion of the Polonaise in A flat ("Heroique") provides a dramatic wake-up call though, especially in the middle section's fiendish left hand octaves. The Polish theme then develops further in the Mazurkas before the disc culminates in Pizarro's dazzling performance of the B flat minor Scherzo.

Another of Linn's hybrid CDs, "Reminiscences" can be played on both Super Audio and standard CD players. If you don't have a SA player yet you can keep it in your collection and enjoy it until you get one. That's when the listening experience really moves to another level. Heard on Super Audio, Pizarro's playing shows its true dynamic range, the bass is richer, there's a more natural decay on the notes and in the faster sections a greater clarity. If you're into Chopin it's a good listen, and for those who dabbled with the piano in their youth these pieces will have the same nostalgic resonance, being the ones through which so many make their first acquaintance with the composer's music.

01 January 2005