Magazine article Gramophone

The Chopin Specialist from Poland Plays the Polonaises

Magazine article Gramophone

The Chopin Specialist from Poland Plays the Polonaises

Article excerpt

Chopin [GC][GC] Polonaises--No 1, Op 26 No 1; No 2, Op 26 No 2; No 3, 'Military', Op 40 No 1; No 4, Op 40 No 2; No 5, Op 44; No 6, 'Heroic', Op 53; No 7, 'Polonaise-fantaisie', Op 61 Ratal Blechacz pf DG [F] 479 0928GH (60' x DDD)

For many Chopin lovers, Arthur Rubinstein's 1930s recordings of the Polonaises are the benchmark (far preferable to his sonically inferior 1950s remakes); for others, Pollini's traversal in the 1970s is the ideal; I've long had a soft spot for Alexander Brailowsky's complete 1961 run that includes the early and Op posth Polonaises (Sony, 6/[62.sup.R]--nla). But I think we all might agree on a new benchmark with the arrival of this recording from Rafal Blechacz. It is not just the nobility and imperiousness of these works that he captures so well, nor the different narrative tones of the seven Polonaises (each separated by 15 seconds of silence), but also the phrasing of a great singer and the moments of heart-wrenching grief. …

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