Friday, May 5, 2017

Frédéric Chopin - Piano Concertos (Yulianna Avdeeva)


Composer: Frédéric Chopin
  1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21: I. Maestoso
  2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21: II. Larghetto
  3. Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21: III. Allegro vivace
  4. Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11: I. Allegro maestoso
  5. Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11: II. Romance. Larghetto
  6. Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11: III. Rondo. Vivace

Yulianna Avdeeva, piano
Orchestra of the 18th Century
Frans Brüggen, conductor

Date: 2013
Label: Fryderyk Chopin Institute



The National Institute Frederyck Chopin has already released a massive box set of Chopin's complete works performed on instruments of the composer's time, and that included recordings of both of these concertos with Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century; the Dutch musicians have become regular visitors to the Chopin and His Europe festival in Warsaw each summer. The institute has now released another period-instrument disc of the concertos with the same conductor and orchestra, but the soloist this time is Yulianna Avdeeva, the highly rated winner of the most recent International Chopin Piano Competition, which took place in the Polish capital in 2010.

For the recordings Avdeeva plays a renovated Erard piano built in Paris in 1849, reckoned to be practically identical to instruments that Chopin knew and played. For its sound alone, it's a fascinating document; the Erard, with its lean, incisive lower register and a crisply defined treble that has just a hint of percussive edge, is wonderfully profiled against the vibrato-free string textures of the orchestra so that not a single detail is missed. But these performances are much more than exercises in historical reconstruction, however intriguing the soundworld they create. Avdeeva's recital appearances in Britain have yet to demonstrate why her competition victory created such a stir, but there's no doubt of the quality of the artistic imagination at work here.

Whether it's in the bold, dramatic shapes that she creates in the first movements of both works, the energy with which she propels the two finales, or the spellbinding beauty of her playing in the central Larghettos, their tracery delicately crystalline and their lyricism airy and unfettered, there seems to be a real spontaneity about Avdeeva's approach. It's as if by performing these works on a very different instrument from the usual modern concert grand she's discovering a new range of possibilities, a new palette of keyboard colours. Her performances may not quite rival the all-time classic versions on record, but they do offer fresh and hugely rewarding alternatives.

-- Andrew Clements, The Guardian


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.


Yulianna Avdeeva (born July 3, 1985 in Moscow) is a Russian concert pianist. She studied at the Gnessin Special School of Music in Moscow, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste and International Piano Academy Lake Como. She studied and worked as assistant to Konstantin Scherbakov. She has received outstanding international recognition as the winner of First Prize of the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition (Warsaw, 2010), being the fourth woman to do so.


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