Chopin - Complete Mazurkas | Atma Classique ACD22682

Chopin - Complete Mazurkas


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Label: Atma Classique

Cat No: ACD22682

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 10th November 2014



Unlike his close contemporaries Schumann and Liszt, Chopin was not prone to putting his innermost thoughts and emotions on display for general public consumption - doing so was aesthetically alien to his nature. Not for him were the conflicts of Florestan and Eusebius, so eloquently portrayed in the troubled Schumann’s compositions, or the Faustian dilemma ever-present in Liszt’s outpourings. No, Chopin kept his feelings close to his heart and most definitely not on his sleeve. He was only reluctantly a participant in the Romantic Era, but in spite of his personal reticence, the feelings of this tragic genius eventually found their way into his compositions, and nowhere more so than in his mazurkas.

Through the mazurkas the essence of Chopin is revealed. In these compositions we find him at his most original and daring, and in them he ranges over the widest possible spectrum of emotion and pianistic colour. Chopin did not invent the mazurka. A 16th-century peasant dance originating in the province of Mazowsze in Poland and accompanied usually by the dudy (a bagpipe), the mazurka had a delightfully syncopated rhythm in 3/4 time and could be either sung or  danced. Originally, mazurkas comprised three kinds of folk dance: the fast accented oberek, the elusive kujawiak (the predecessor of what we know as mazurka form), and the mazur, filled with Slavic sentiment and zal— a unique Polish word describing nostalgia verging on despair.

By the early 19th century, the mazurka dance form had spread across Europe, reaching both Paris - where it was much appreciated by the aristocracy - and England.

The great French composer Hector Berlioz, after hearing his friend Chopin play some of his mazurkas wrote the following: “There are unbelievable details in his mazurkas and he has found how to render them doubly interesting by playing them with the utmost degree of softness, piano in the extreme, the hammers merely brushing the strings, so much so that one is tempted to go close to the instrument and put one’s ear to it as if to a concert of sylphs or elves”.

The legendary Arthur Rubinstein called Janina Fiakowlska “a born Chopin interpreter”. On this recording, she returns with a two CD set devoted to the complete mazurkas of Frédéric Chopin. This recording - by one of the world’s great Chopin interpreters at the culmination of her long and celebrated career - will be a milestone for music lovers, and especially for connoisseurs of Chopin’s works.

Beloved the world over for her exquisite pianism, Janina Fialkowska has enchanted audiences for over thirty years with her glorious lyrical sound, her sterling musicianship and her profound sense of musical integrity. Blending her vast experience with her refreshingly natural approach, "Fialkowska has become an artist of rare distinction as well as retaining all the virtuosity of her youth" (La Presse, Montréal).

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