Ingrid Fliter plays Chopin
EMI Classics 5099951489953
- Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 58
- Ballade No. 4, Op. 52
- Barcarolle Op. 60
- 4 Waltzes
- 3 Mazurkas
- 2 Preludes
- Impromptu in c sharp minor, Op. posth. (later the Op. 66 Fantaisia-Impromptu)
There is, for the piano as for many other instruments which are formally studied, a standard repertoire which an artist is expected to assimilate in order to be considered a master of their craft. With classical music, most all of this repertoire dates back from 100-300+ years, at least for most popular concert instruments--piano, violin, organ, string ensemble, etc. For pianists, probably first on that list is the Pole Frederic Chopin (1810-1849). Along with Beethoven, Chopin is considered the greatest composer for the piano, first on a list which contains Ravel and Rachmaninov and Liszt and (though he wasn't technically a piano composer) Bach. In part, Chopin probably owes his place on the list to the correspondence of his lifetime to the maturation of the piano mechanically. The early versions of the pianoforte which Bach experienced (and treated as a curiosity) were a world away from a modern piano, and even Beethoven was playing an instrument still very much under development. Chopin, on the other hand, wrote his pieces for a very close approximation to the modern Steinway.
Like Bach, Chopin wrote pieces of wide-ranging technical sophistication, pieces which are manageable for the aspiring pianist, and also great works with passages of diabolical difficulty. But emotionally Chopin is a pure Romantic, a composer with a miraculous gift for melody and urbane expression. Not surprisingly, many pianists have established themselves by way of Chopin's works, people like Vladimir Ashkenazy and Artur Rubenstein and Garrick Ohlsson and Martha Argerich.
Now here's another: the Argentine Ingrid Fliter (b. 1973). A specialist in the works of Chopin, Ms. Fliter studied in Freiburg and Rome and Imola and has won or placed highly in a number of piano competitions.
To my ear, Ms. Fliter plays these pieces to perfection. In that mysterious world where abstract music makes for powerful communication, she seems to have lit upon exactly the right forum for her sensibilities. Her tempi and phrasing are exactly correct, and she has exactly the sense of drama and the commanding technique to make these pieces absolutely compelling. From the frenetic whimsy of the waltzes to the gravity of the b minor Sonata and the absolute drama of the Fourth Ballade (one of my very favorite pieces in any genre), she dances and muscles her way around the keyboard in thrilling fashion, creating a whole sonic landscape which the engineers at EMI Classics have captured perfectly.
As I've said before in other contexts, if these performances don't work for you, then you're simply never going to respond to this music, period. She is that good.
Here's a sample from YouTube: