Chopin Reminiscences - Pizarro - Sunday Herald

Since winning the Leeds International Competition in 1990, Portuguese keyboard maestro Artur Pizarro has continued to impress and astonish with the incredible range of his artistry and dazzling virtuosity. On this very full CD - 79 captivating minutes - Pizarro, in his own words, looks back to his early contact with Chopin, revisiting much of the repertoire he was introduced to as a child - the Fantaisie-Impromptu, the C-sharp minor posthumous nocturne and many of the folk-tune-inspired mazurkas (and in so doing, finding the inspiration for the title of the disc). This is a very attractively compiled programme, demonstrating the melodic grace, the variety of invention and the harmonic richness that Chopin drew from his favoured instrument. Pizarro opens his recital with a charming grande valse brillante, going on to play with authority and command of colour, as he explores a varied selection of valses, nocturnes and polonaises. There is a wonderful naturalness to the playing of this pianist who seems at ease communicating both the poetic introspection and the fiery drama of Chopin's keyboard heroics: never more so than in his performance of the composer's evocation of Poland's past splendours, the Polonaise opus 53 in A-flat major. Unmissable.

30 January 2005