Thursday, May 4, 2017

Frédéric Chopin - Ballades; Mazurkas; Barcarolle (Ivan Moravec)


Composer: Frédéric Chopin
  1. Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23
  2. Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38
  3. Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47
  4. Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52
  5. Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 50/3
  6. Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 63/3
  7. Mazurka in A minor, Op. 7/2
  8. Mazurka in C major, Op. 24/2
  9. Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17/4
  10. Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60

Ivan Moravec, piano
Date: 1965 (1-9), 1969 (10)
Label: Supraphon



Reference Recording: Moravec Makes Poetry in Chopin’s Ballades

This marvelous disc belongs in the collection of everyone who loves Chopin. The outstanding features of these performances are well known from various previous incarnations, most recently on VAI. The four Ballades each receive highly individual characterizations: contrast the rhythmically free opening of No. 1 with the songful simplicity of No. 4. Nor, despite the many subtleties of touch, does Moravec hold back at the climaxes. Yes, they are controlled (with particularly clear bass lines), but never inhibited. Among the Mazurkas, Op. 50 No. 3 in C-sharp minor (one of Chopin's most highly developed) stands out for its expertly managed transitions between sections, and all of them capture the irresistible lilt of the dance. The program ends with a lovely account of the Barcarolle in F-sharp that boasts scintillatingly prismatic tonal coloration projected onto a buoyant rhythmic foundation. Excellent remastering preserves the superb qualities of the original master tapes. This is one of the great recordings.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

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Frédéric Chopin (22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for the solo piano. He gained and has maintained renown worldwide as one of the leading musicians of his era, whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation". Chopin's music, his status as one of music's earliest superstars, his association (if only indirect) with political insurrection, his love life and his early death have made him a leading symbol of the Romantic era in the public consciousness. His works remain popular, and he has been the subject of numerous films and biographies of varying degrees of historical accuracy.


Ivan Moravec (9 November 1930 – 27 July 2015) was a Czech concert pianist whose performing and recording career spanned nearly half a century. Moravec studied with Erna Grünfeld, Ilona Štěpánová-Kurzová and attend master classes in Arezzo with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. Moravec had a reputation for attention to the condition of the pianos he played. Moravec's recordings for the Connoisseur Society were notable for their audiophile quality, and he also recorded for several other labels, including Vox, Nonesuch, Dorian, Hänssler, and Supraphon.


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