Ingrid Fliter - Chopin: Preludes - Big Issue

Fryderyk Chopin was a political exile from his native Poland: as a fervent nationalist he was in danger of imprisonment after the November Uprising of 1830 and he left for Paris that year, aged just 20. A deep-set nostalgia for home underpins all of his music, not least his Polish mazurkas: musicologist John Rink describes a sense of "present absence" and "absent presence".

His heart is interred inside a church pillar in Warsaw, pickled in cognac

Today Chopin is a national hero in Poland, where his heart is interred inside a church pillar in Warsaw, pickled in cognac. But his music speaks everywhere and in so many ways. To play it well, according to pianist Angela Hewitt, you "have to try to be a poet like him... if you don't make the piano sing, you're not playing Chopin". 

Making the piano sing has been the trademark of generations of great pianists: Horowitz, Richter, Ashkenazy, Pires, Pollini, Perahia, all singing Chopin in their own voices. A true piano chanteuse of today is the Argentinian Ingrid Fliter, who has just released her fourth Chopin recording with a disc of the 24 Preludes Op 28, plus some nocturnes and mazurkas. She strikes a wonderful balance between tenderness and steel, suppleness and brawn, straight-back dignity and the melancholy of longing. It's personal, timeless playing that sings from the heart.

11 December 2014